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Genocide: A Comprehensive Introduction is the most wide-ranging textbook on genocide yet published. The book is designed as a text for upper-undergraduate and graduate students, as well as a primer for non-specialists and general readers interested in learning about one of humanity's enduring blights.

Fully updated to reflect the latest thinking in this rapidly developing field, this new edition:

• Provides an introduction to genocide as both a historical phenomenon and an analytical-legal concept, including an extended discussion of the concept of genocidal intent, and the dynamism and contingency of genocidal processes.

• Discusses the role of state-building, imperialism, war, and social revolution in fueling genocide.

• Supplies a wide range of full-length case studies of genocides worldwide, each with an accompanying box-text.

• Explores perspectives on genocide from the social sciences, including psychology, sociology, anthropology, political science/international relations, and gender studies.

• Considers "The Future of Genocide," with attention to historical memory and genocide denial; initiatives for truth, justice, and redress; and strategies of inter­vention and prevention.

Written in clear and lively prose, liberally sprinkled with over 170 illustrations and maps, and including personal testimonies from genocide survivors, Genocide: A Comprehensive Introduction has established itself as the core textbook of the new generation of genocide scholarship. An accompanying website (www.genocidetext. net) features a broad selection of supplementary materials, teaching aids, and Internet resources.x

Adam Jones, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of British Columbia Okanagan in Kelowna, Canada. His recent books include Gender Inclusive: Essays on Violence, Men, and Feminist International Relations (Routledge, 2009) and Crimes Against Humanity: A Beginner's Guide (Oneworld, 2008). He is co-founder and executive director of Gendercide Watch ().


With its interdisciplinary approach and bevy of case studies, Genocide: A Comprehensive Introduction will surely become the seminal text for students of genocide. Written in an engaging and conversational style, the book not only explores existing frameworks, but expands the boundaries of genocide studies with attention to issues such as gender and the future of genocide. Perhaps best of all, Jones educates and inspires the reader to become an active and responsible global citizen.

Nicholas A. Robins, Duke University, USA

This is the best introductory text available to students of genocide studies. Written in clear, elegant prose and supported by a wealth of authoritative sources, Genocide: A Comprehensive Introduction is likely to become the gold standard by which all subsequent introductions to this enormously important subject will be measured.

Kenneth J. Campbell, Professor of Political Science, University of Delaware, USA

This wide-ranging inquest into the dynamics of genocidal violence stands as a major contribution to the dismal science of'massacrology.' More than a collection of case studies, it offers a depth of critical insight and a richness of data seldom matched in comparative studies of genocide. Informed by a formidable erudition, and a deep personal sensitivity to the horrors that he describes, Adam Jones's splendid book is a milestone in the literature on mass crimes and genocide.

Rene Lemarchand, Department of Political Science, University of Florida, USA

The subtitle says it all: unique in the literature, this book provides a thorough, comprehensive introduction to the subject of genocide. Jones delivers a very readable, intellectually stimulating text. The overall perspective is interdisciplinary. Relevant research and insights from psychology, sociology, and anthropology are included; maps and illustrations complement many of the examples and case studies. The historical coverage ranges from discussions of genocide in the Hebrew Bible to contemporary abominations in Sudan's Darfur region. Commendably, there are thoughtful chapters on the significance of gender, memory and denial, and postgenocide tribunals. The book concludes with strategies to anticipate future genocides and intervene when necessary. Readers are encouraged as responsible citizens to consider their reactions to genocide. Summing Up: Essential. All readership levels.

P. G. Conway, SUNY College at Oneonta, writing in Choice - Reviews Online


Already the most wide-ranging, accessible and clear-sighted introduction to the subject, the significantly expanded second edition unflinchingly extends the range of its discussion to include contentious issues such as 'cultural' genocide, whether post 9/11 terrorism falls under the rubric, and the wider scope of Ottoman violence against Christian 'minorities' in 1915. Compassionate, searching, up-to-the minute and sometimes even electrifying in its prose, this is the book I will be particularly recommending to my university students of genocide.

Mark Levene, University of Southampton, UK

Based on immense scholarship, Genocide: A Comprehensive Introduction is much more than an indispensible text for students of this seemingly intractable phenomenon. With its global and interdisciplinary perspectives, it consistently advances our under­standing of genocidal events on many fronts. Provocative yet balanced, Adam Jones's second edition at once summarizes and defines this burgeoning field.

A. Dirk Moses, University of Sydney and the European University

Institute, Florence


A Comprehensive Introduction

2nd Edition

Adam Jones

O Routledge

Taylor & Francis Group LONDON AND NEW YORK

First published 2006 by Routledge

Second Edition published 2011 by Routledge

2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon, OX14 4RN

Simultaneously published in the USA and Canada by Routledge

270 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016

Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business

© 2006, 2011 Adam Jones

Typeset in Garamond by Keystroke, Tettenhall, Wolverhampton Printed and bound in Great Britain by the MPG Books Group in the UK

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers.

All efforts have been made to contact copyright holders. The publishers would be grateful to hear from any copyright holder who is not acknowledg and will undertake to rectify any errors or omissions in future editions.

British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data

A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library

Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data Jones, Adam, 1963-

Genocide : a comprehensive introduction / Adam Jones. — 2nd ed. p. cm.

Genocide. 2. Genocide—Case studies. I. Title. HV6322.7.J64 2010 304.C63—dc22 2010003010

ISBN: 978-0-415-48618-7 (hbk) ISBN: 978-0-415-48619-4 (pbk) ISBN: 978-0-203-84696-4 (ebk)

For Jo and David Jones, givers of life,

and for Dr. Griselda Ramirez Reyes, saver of lives.

One gains power over the nightmare by calling it

by its real name. Martin Buber, / and Thou


List of illustrationsxv

About the authorxxi




1The Origins of Genocide3

Genocide in prehistory, antiquity, and early modernity 3

The Vendee uprising 6

Zulu genocide 7

Naming genocide: Raphael Lemkin 8

Defining genocide: The UN Convention 13

Bounding genocide: Comparative genocide studies 15

Discussion 20

What is destroyed in genocide? 29

Multiple and overlapping identities 34

Dynamism and contingency 36

The question of genocidal intent 37

Contested cases of genocide 39

Atlantic slavery - and after 39

Area bombing and nuclear warfare 43

UN sanctions against Iraq 44

9/11: Terrorism as genocide? 45

Structural and institutional violence 47

Is genocide ever justified? 48

Further study 51

Notes 53

2State and Empire; War and Revolution64

The state, imperialism, and genocide 66

Imperial famines 68

The Congo "rubber terror" 70



The Japanese in East and Southeast Asia 72

The US in Indochina 74

The Soviets in Afghanistan 77

Imperial ascent and dissolution 80

Genocide and war 81

The First World War and the dawn of industrial death 85

The Second World War and the "barbarization of warfare" 88

Genocide and social revolution 89

The nuclear revolution and "omnicide" 91

Further study 93

Notes 94


3Genocides of Indigenous Peoples105

Introduction 105

Colonialism and the discourse of extinction 106

The conquest of the Americas 108

Spanish America 108

The United States and Canada 111

Other genocidal sttategies 117

Australia's Aborigines and the Namibian Hereros 119

Genocide in Australia 119

The Herero genocide 122

Denying genocide, celebrating genocide 124

Complexities and caveats 125

Indigenous revival 128

Further study 131

Notes 132

The genocide of Guatemala's Mayans 139

4The Ottoman Destruction of Christian Minorities149

Introduction 149

Origins of the genocide 151

Wat, deportation, and massacre 153

The Armenian genocide 155

The Assyrian genocide 161

The Pontian Greek genocide 163

Aftermath: Attempts at justice 166

The denial 168

Further study 172

Notes 173

Iraq: Liberation and genocide 179



5Stalin and Mao188

The Soviet Union and Stalinism 189

1917: The Bolsheviks seize power 189

Collectivization and famine 191

The Gulag 195

The Great Purge of 1937-38 197

The war years 199

The destruction of national minorities 202

China and Maoism 204

Stalin, Mao, and genocide 216

Further study 218

Notes 220

Chechnya 226

6The Jewish Holocaust233

Introduction 233

Origins 234

"Ordinary Germans" and the Nazis 238

The turn to mass murder 239

Debating the Holocaust 247

Intentionalists vs. functionalists 247

Jewish resistance 248

The Allies and the churches: Could the Jews have been saved? 249

Willing executioners? 251

Israel, the Palestinians, and the Holocaust 252

Is the Jewish Holocaust "uniquely unique"? 254

Further study 255

Notes 257

The Nazis' other victims 263

7Cambodia and the Khmer Rouge283

Origins of the Khmer Rouge 283

War and revolution, 1970-75 286

A genocidal ideology 288

A policy of "urbicide," 1975 291

"Base People" vs. "New People" 292

Cambodia's Holocaust, 1975-79 293

Genocide against Buddhists and ethnic minorities 299

Aftermath: Politics and the quest for justice 302

Further study 305

Notes 306

East Timor 310



8Bosnia and Kosovo317

Origins and onset 317

Gendercide and genocide in Bosnia 322

The international dimension 324

Kosovo, 1998-99 329

Aftermaths 331

Further study 336

Notes 337

Genocide in Bangladesh, 1971 340

9Apocalypse in Rwanda346

Introduction: Horror and shame 346

Background to genocide 348

Genocidal frenzy 352

Aftermaths 360

Further study 362

Notes 363

Congo and Darfur 368


10Psychological Perspectives383

Narcissism, greed, fear, humiliation 384

Narcissism 384

Greed 387

Fear 389

Humiliation 394

The psychology of perpetrators 396

The Stanford prison experiments 400

The psychology of rescuers 402

Further study 412

Notes 414

11The Sociology and Anthropology of Genocide423

Introduction 423

Sociological perspectives 424

The sociology of modernity 424

Ethnicity and ethnic conflict 427

Ethnic conflict and violence "specialists" 429

"Middleman minorities" 430

Anthropological perspectives 432

Further study 439

Notes 441



12Political Science and International Relations446

Empirical investigations 446

The changing face of war 449

Democracy, war, and genocide/democide 453

Norms and prohibition regimes 455

Further study 459

Notes 460

13Gendering Genocide464

Gendercide vs. root-and-branch genocide 465

Women as targets 469

Gendercidal institutions 472

Genocide and violence against homosexuals 474

Genocidal men, genocidal women 476

A note on gendered propaganda 487

Further study 490

Notes 491


14Memory, Forgetting, and Denial501

Contested memories: Four cases 503

I. Germany 503

II. Japan 505

III. Russia 508

IV. Argentina 511 The politics of forgetting 514 Genocide denial: Motives and strategies 517 Denial and free speech 520 Further study 524 Notes 526

15Justice, Truth, and Redress532

Leipzig, Constantinople, Nuremberg, Tokyo 533

The international criminal tribunals: Yugoslavia and Rwanda 536

Jurisdictional issues 537

The concept of a victim group 537

Gender and genocide 538

National trials 541

The "mixed tribunals": Cambodia and Sierra Leone 542

Another kind of justice: Rwanda's gacaca experiment 543

The Pinochet case 546

The International Criminal Court (ICC) 548



International citizens' tribunals 550

Truth and reconciliation 552

The challenge of redress 555

Further study 558

Notes 559

16 Strategies of Intervention and Prevention567

Warning signs 569

Humanitarian intervention 572

Sanctions 573

The United Nations 573

When is military intervention justified? 575

A standing "peace army"? 581

Ideologies and individuals 594

The role of the honest witness 594

Ideologies, religious and secular 596

Personal responsibility 599

Conclusion 601

Further study 601

Notes 602





1.1 Raphael Lemkin, founder of genocide studies 10

1.2 Samantha Power speaking at Columbia University, 2008 11

1.3 Two members of the Madan community in southern Iraq 27

1.4 UN peacekeepers walk past a destroyed mosque in Bosnia-Herzegovina 31

1.5 Nazi antisemitic/anti-communist poster 35

1.6 Peter, a whipped slave in Baton Rouge, Louisiana 40

1.7 We Charge Genocide, cover of the 1970 edition 41

1.8 The heart of the German city of Dresden, destroyed by US and British bombing 43

1.9 A destroyed temple after the atomic bombing in Nagasaki, Japan 43 1.10 Sunlight streams through the ruins of the World Trade Center, September 2001 46

2.1 "The Famine in India" (1877 engraving) 69

2.2 The wealth of the Congo, siphoned off by Belgian King Leopold 71

2.3 Japanese forces use captured Chinese prisoners for bayonet practice 73

2.4 Iris Chang, author of The Rape of Nanking73

2.5 Children and women rounded up for massacre in My Lai, Vietnam 75

2.6 The irrigation ditch in My Lai where 170 Vietnamese villagers were killed 76

2.7 Soviet troops round up young Afghan men in a counterinsurgency "sweep operation" 78

2.8 A frieze from the ninth-century ruins of the Angkor civilization in Cambodia 82

2.9 Visitors enter a museum exhibition in Kazan, capital of the Republic of Tatarstan, Russian Federation 82

2.10 US recruiting poster from World War One 83

2.11 Alfred George Jones (1885-1949), the author's grandfather 86

2.12 Soldiers go "over the top" at the Battle of the Somme 86

2.13 Adolf Hitler with soldiers of Germany's 16th Bavarian Unit 87

2.14 The mushroom cloud of the first atomic bomb, Hiroshima, Japan 92

2.15 A victim of the atomic blast at Hiroshima 92

3.1 Spanish slavery and atrocities in the Caribbean 109

3.2 Diego Rivera's mural "La Gran Tenochtitlan" (1945) 109

3.3 The Cerro Rico mountain overlooking Potosf, Bolivia 110

3.4 Cree Canadian singer Buffy Sainte-Marie in concert 112

3.5 US soldiers load Indian corpses from Wounded Knee massacre, 1890 117

3.6 Truganini, "the last Tasmanian" 120



3.7 Children at a school in Perth, Australia, join forces to spell out "Sorry" 121

3.8 Famished Hereros after emerging from the Omahake desert, c. 1907 123

3.9 The Shark Island concentration camp 123

3.10 Aztec victims of a smallpox epidemic 126

3.11 Indigenous protest against health conditions in Belem, Brazil 129 3a. 1 Rigoberta Menchu, Guatemalan Indian and Nobel Peace Prize winner 141

4.1 Fundraising poster for the American Committee for Relief in the Near East 151

4.2 Armenian men being led away for execution, Harput, May 1915 156

4.3 Armenian woman and children after deportation 157

4.4 Sano Halo and her daughtet Thea 163

4.5 Pontian Greeks rounded up for deportation in railway cars 165

4.6 Mustafa Kemal (Ataturk) 167

4.7 1915: The missing year of Ottoman history 169

5.1 Soviet poster attacking "Enemies of the Five Year Plan," 1929 193

5.2 Pedestrians pass by the corpses of famine victims in Kharkov, Ukraine, 1932-33 194

5.3 Slave laborers on the White Sea Canal (Belomorsko-Baltiyskiy Kanal), 1932 195

5.4 A Russian woman with a portrait of Joseph Stalin at a May Day demonstration,

Moscow, 2007 204

5.5 The 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, in Delhi in 2009 210

5.6 Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong depicted in a Soviet propaganda postei 212

5.7 Purge victims paraded in public during the Cultural Revolution, China 214 5a. 1 Russian soldiers by a mass grave in Chechnya 229

6.1 A medieval manuscript depicting a mass burning of Jews in 1349 234

6.2 Front page of the Nazi propaganda newspaper Der Sturmer, depicting the ritual

murder (Ritualmord) of an Aryan woman by a Jewish man 235

6.3 Germans pass by broken windows of a Jewish shop destroyed in the Kristallnacht, November 1938 237

6.4 Jewish children, women, and men gathered for execution in 1941—42 240

6.5 The ruins of the Crematorium III death factory at Auschwitz II-Birkenau 243

6.6 Execution by pistol-fire at a death pit outside Vinnytsia, Ukraine, 1941-42 244

6.7 A German soldier takes aim at civilian victims near Novgorod, Russia, 1942 244

6.8 Jewish civilians are rounded up after the Warsaw Ghetto uprising of 1943 244

6.9 The bodies of gassing victims being burned in an open pit near Crematorium V, Auschwitz II-Birkenau, May 1944 244

6.10 Christopher Browning 252

6.11 Daniel Jonah Goldhagen 252 6a. 1 Smoke billowing from the chimney of the Schloss Hartheim killing complex in

Germany, 1940-41 269

6a.2 Soviet prisoners-of-war await their fate in Nazi captivity, 1941 272

6a.3 Mass grave of Soviet prisoners, winter 1941-42 273

6a.4 Roma interned in the Nazis' Belzec death camp in Poland 274

7.1 A cell in the Tuol Sleng S-21 detention and torture center in Phnom Penh, Cambodia 298

7.2 Victims of the "killing fields" which have become synonymous with the Cambodian genocide 298

7.3 Dith Pran, who inspired the 1985 film The Killing Fields, with Haing S. Ngor,

who played him in the film 300



7.4 Al Rockoff, Killing Fields photojournalist 301

7.5 Female victim of "S-21," theTuol Sleng torture and execution center in Phnom Penh 303

7.6 Male victim of "S-21," today a Museum of Genocide 303

7.7 Kaing Guek Eav, alias "Duch," the first senior Khmer Rouge figure to be tried by the Cambodian "mixed tribunal" 304

8.1 Visual rendering of the siege of Sarajevo, prepared by FAMA International 320

8.2 Siege life in Sarajevo 321

8.3 Coffins prepared for reinterment, Potocari, Bosnia and Herzegovina, July 2007 325

8.4 Bosnian Muslim women mourners at the Srebrenica reinterment ceremony, 2007 326

8.5 Slobodan Milosevic, Alija Izetbegovic, and Franjo Tudjman sign the Dayton Accords, Paris, December 1995 328

8.6 A half-restored, half-bullet-pocked facade in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina 332

8.7 Radovan Karadzic, former prime minister of the Bosnian Serb republic, appearing

before the ICTY in November 2009 333

8a. 1 Bengali victims of genocide by Pakistani forces in Dhaka, 1971 342

9.1 Rwandan genocide victims pulled from Lake Victoria by Ugandan fishermen 354

9.2 Interior of church at Nyamata where Tutsis were massacred, now a genocide memorial

site 355

9.3 Alison Des Forges, human-rights investigator and genocide scholar 361 9a. 1 A young Darfuri man in a refugee camp in Chad, 2005 373 9a. 2 A Darfuri woman refugee 373

10.1 Hubert Lanzinger's portrait of Adolf Hitler, Der Bannertrager (The Standard Bearer) 384

10.2 Wall painting of Kim Il-sung, absolute ruler of North Korea from 1948 to 1994 384

10.3 "The World Needs More Canada" — sign in a Toronto bookstore 386

10.4 A baroque facade in Prague, Czech Republic, reflects the human fear of death 390

10.5 Diagram of the Milgram experiments 398

10.6 Dr. Philip Zimbardo, creator of the Stanford University prison experiments 401

10.7 Dominican friar Bartolome de las Casas 409

10.8 Detail of Haitian banknote commemorating rebel slave leader Toussaint Louverture 409

10.9 Chiune Sugihara, Japanese consul in Vilnius, Lithuania 409

10.10 German businessman John Rabe with other organizers of the "International Safety

Zone" in Nanjing 409

10.11 Pastor Andre and Magda Trocme of Le Chambon sur Lignon, France 409

10.12 Miep Gies of Amsterdam, Holland, who sheltered Anne Frank and her family 409

10.13 Sophie Scholl, martyred member of the anti-Nazi White Rose movement 410

10.14 Oskar Schindler, inspiration for Schindler's List, with Leopold Pfefferberg, whom he

saved from the Nazis 410

10.15 Raoul Wallenberg, Swedish diplomat and rescuer in Budapest, Hungaty 410

10.16 Hugh Thompson, Jr., who saved Vietnamese civilians at My Lai 410

10.17 Paul Rusesabagina, inspiration for Hotel Rwanda, who saved refugees in Kigali in 1994 410

11.1 Canister of Zyklon B gas 425

11.2 Homeless man in New York City 437

11.3 Isabel Reveco, Chilean forensic anthropologist, examines the skull of a Kurdish victim

of the Anfal Campaign 438

12.1 Demobilized child soldiers in Congo 451

12.2 "Am I not a man and a brother?" Anti-slavery image from 1837 457


13.1 Frieze at the memorial museum in Lidice, Czech Republic, depicting the 1942

massacre of 190 village males by Nazi soldiers 466

13.2 Exhumed corpse of a victim of the Srebrenica massacre 466

13.3 A Congolese rape survivor and burn victim tells her story at a gathering in Gisenyi, Rwanda, September 2008 471

13.4 "Girl Child is Precious": sign outside the maternity hospital in Pondicherry, India 473

13.5 Anti-gay protestors holding "God Hates Fag" and other signs, San Francisco, June

2008 475

13.6 Adolescent girls at an early Nazi parade 480

13.7 Lynching victims Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith in Marion, Indiana, 1930 482

13.8 Billie Holiday, American jazz singer 483

13.9 Detail of Figure 13.7 485

13.10 Poster for the Nazi propaganda exhibition Der Ewige Jude (The Eternal Jew), 1937 488

13.11 Cartoon from the Hutu Power propaganda paper Kangura, February 1994 489

13.12 Nazi propaganda poster of SS soldier 489

13.13 Nazi propaganda poster of mother and child 489

14.1 Visitors at a September 2009 ceremony for a new monument commemorating victims

of the Babi Yar massacre, Ukraine 502

14.2 Children beside a memorial in Co Luy, Vietnam, to victims of the My Lai massacre 503

14.3 The Yasukuni shrine in Tokyo 507

14.4 "The Solovetsky Stone" in the Troitskaya gardens in St. Petersburg, Russia 509

14.5 The Naval Mechanics School (ESMA) in the Buenos Aires suburb of Palermo, Argentina 512

14.6 Father Patrick Desbois walks by a mass grave of Jewish victims of the "Holocaust by Bullets" 515

14.7 Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, president of Iran, speaking at Columbia University,

New York, September 2007 521

14.8 Demonstrators protest against Ahmadinejad's Columbia University address 521

14.9 Anti-semitic graffito on a European street 521

15.1 Accused Nazi war criminals in the dock at Nuremberg, 1946 535

15.2 Vestine addresses the gacaca court, Rwanda 544

15.3 Spanish judge Baltasar Garzon 546

15.4 Luis Moreno Ocampo, chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) 550

15.5 ICC headquarters 550

16.1 "Never Again" sign at a "Save Darfur" rally, New York City, April 2006 568

16.2 Indian soldier of the United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of the

Congo (MONUC), February 2007 574

16.3 Mahathir bin Mohamed, prime minister of Malaysia from 1981 to 2003 583

16.4 Young women in traditional and Western dress outside the university in Kazan, Russia, 2008 584

16.5 Nelson Mandela addresses the crowd at his 90th birthday concert, London, UK,

June 2008 586

16.6 Rwandan president Paul Kagame at the World Economic Forum, Cape Town,

June 2009 588

16.7 Flags of the European Union (EU) outside European Commission headquarters in Brussels 591


16.8 Story by Gareth Jones on the Ukrainian famine in the London Evening Standard,

1933 595


World Map - Cases of mass violence referenced in this book xxii

3.1 Known massacres of Native Americans: Map by Benjamin Madley 116

3a. 1 Guatemala 139

4a. 1 Iraq 179

5.1 Russian map of the Gulag labor-camp system, prepared by Memorial 196

5.2 Chinese Tibet (the Tibet Autonomous Region) and historic Tibet 207 5 a. 1 Chechnya 227

6.1 The Holocaust in Europe 242

7.1 Cambodia 285

7a. 1 East Timor 311

8.1 Bosnia and Herzegovina today 319

8.2 Kosovo 330 8a. 1 Bangladesh 341

9.1 Rwanda 349

9a. 1 Congo 370

9a. 2 Darfur and Sudan 372


1.1 Genocide: Scholarly definitions (in chronological order) 16

1.2 A lexicon of genocides and related mass crimes 22

1.3 The other "-cides" of genocide 26

1.4 We Charge Genocide, 1951 41 3.1 Buffy Sainte-Marie, "My Country Tis of Thy People You're Dying" 112

3a The genocide of Guatemala's Maya 139

4.1 One woman's story: Ester Ahronian 158

4.2 One woman's story: Sano Halo 163 4a Iraq: Liberation and genocide 178

5.1 One man's story: Janusz Bardach 200

5.2 Tibet: Repression and genocide 207

5.3 North Korea and "the cleanest race" 215 5 a Chechnya 226

6.1 One woman's story: Nechama Epstein 245

6a The Nazis' other victims 263

7.1 One woman's story: Molyda Szymusiak 294

7.2 Cambodia: Killing fields and The Killing Fields300 7a East Timor 310

8.1 One man's story: Nezad Avdic 326

8a Genocide in Bangladesh, 1971 340



9.1 One woman's story: Gloriose Mukakanimba 356

9a Congo and Darfur 368

10.1 The story of Le Chambon 405

10.2 Hugh Thompson, Jr. and the My Lai Massacre 407

10.3 A heroes'gallery 409 13.1 "Strange Fruit" and the gendered politics of lynching 482 15.1 "Genocide" vs. "crimes against humanity" 538

16.1 The Genocide Prevention Task Force and The Will to Intervene (W2I) Project 576

16.2 Intervention in East Timor, 1999 579

16.3 Success stories? 582



Adam Jones, Ph.D., was born in Singapore in 1963, and grew up in England and Canada. He is currently Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of British Columbia Okanagan in Kelowna, Canada. From 2005-07, he was Associate Research Fellow in the Genocide Studies Program at Yale University. Jones was selected as one of Fifty Key Thinkers on the Holocaust and Genocide for the book of that title, edited by Paul Bartrop and Steven Jacobs (Routledge, 2010). He has published various sole-authored and edited works on genocide and related themes, including Evoking Genocide: Scholars and Activists Describe the Works That Shaped Their Lives (The Key Publishing House, 2009); Crimes Against Humanity: A Beginner's Guide (Oneworld, 2008); Gender Inclusive: Essays on Violence, Men, and Feminist International Relations (Routledge, 2008); Gendercide and Genocide (Vanderbilt University Press, 2004); and Genocide, War Crimes and the West: History and Complicity (Zed Books, 2004). He has also published books on the mass media and political transition. Jones serves as book review editor of the Journal of Genocide Research, and is co-founder and executive director of Gendercide Watch (). His journalism and photojournalism, along with a selection of scholarly writings, are available at . Email: adam@. (Photo by Griselda Ramirez -Kazan, Russia, 2008)


World Map Cases of genocide and mass conflict referenced in this book Source: Chartwell Illustrators

4 Yugoslavia/Serbia

(Chs. 8, 13, 14, 15)



"Why would you want to study thaii"

If you spend time seriously investigating genocide, or even if you only leave this book lying in plain view, you will probably have to deal with this question. Underlying it is a tone of distaste and skepticism, perhaps tinged with suspicion. There may be a hint that you are guided by a morbid fixation on the worst of human horrors. How will you respond? Why, indeed, study genocide?

First and foremost, if you are concerned about peace, human rights, and justice, there is a sense that with genocide you are confronting the "Big One," what Joseph Conrad called the "heart of darkness." That can be deeply intimidating and dis­turbing. It can even make you feel trivial and powerless. But genocide is the opposite of trivial. Whatever energy and commitment you invest in understanding genocide will be directed towards comprehending and confronting one of humanity's greatest scourges.

Second, to study genocide is to study our historical inheritance. It is unfortunately the case that all stages of recorded human existence, and nearly all parts of the world, have known genocide at one time or another, often repeatedly. Furthermore, genocide may be as prevalent in the contemporary era as at any time in history. Inevitably, there is something depressing about the prevalence and repetition of genocide in world history: Will humanity ever change? But there is also interest and personal enlightenment to be gained by delving into the historical record, for which genocide serves as a point of entry. I well remember the period, a decade ago, that I devoted



to voracious reading of the genocide studies literature, and exploring the diverse themes this opened up to me. The accounts were grim - sometimes relentlessly so. Yet they were also spellbinding, and they gave me a bettet grounding not only in world history, but also in sociology, psychology, anthropology, and a handful of other disciplines.

This points to a third reason to study genocide: it brings you into contact with some of the most interesting and exciting debates in the social sciences and humanities. To what extent should genocide be understood as reflecting epic social transformations such as modernity, the rise of the state, and globalization? How has warfare been transformed in recent times, and how are the wars of the present age linked to genocide? How does gender shape genocidal experiences and genocidal strategies? How is history "produced," and what role do memories or denial of genocide play in that production? These are only a few of the themes to be examined in this book. I hope they will lead readers, as they have led me, towards an engagement with debates that have a wider, though not necessarily deeper, significance.

In writing this book, I stand on the shoulders of giants: the scholars without whose trail-blazing efforts my own work would be inconceivable. You may find their approach and humanity inspiring, as I do. One of my principal concerns is to provide an overview of the core genocide studies literature; thus each chapter and box-text is accompanied by recommendations for further study.

Modern academic writing, particularly in the social sciences and humanities, is often riddled with jargon and pomposity. It would be pleasant to report that genocide studies is free of such baggage. It isn't; but it is less burdened by it than most other fields. It seems this has to do with the experience of looking into the abyss, and finding that the abyss looks back. One is fotced to ponder one's own human frailty and vulnerability; one is even pressed to confront one's own capacity for hating others, for marginalizing them, for supporting their oppression and annihilation. These real­izations aren't pretty, but they are arguably necessary. And they can lead to humility - a rare quality in academia. I once described to a friend why the Danish philosopher S0ren Kierkegaard (1813-55) moved me so deeply: "It's like he's grabbing you by the arm and saying, 'Look. We don't have much time. There are important things we need to talk about.'" You sense the same in the genocide-studies literature: that the issues are too vital, and time too limited, to beat around the bush. George Orwell famously described political speech - he could have been referring to some academic writing - as "a mass of words [that] falls upon the facts like soft snow, blurring the outlines and covering up all the details."1 By contrast, the majority of genocide scholars inhabit the literary equivalent of the tropics. I hope to take up residence there too.

Finally, some good news for the reader interested in understanding and con­fronting genocide: your studies and actions may make a difference. To study genocide is to study processes by which hundreds of millions of people met brutal ends. Yet there are many, many people throughout history who have bravely resisted the blind rush to hatred. They are the courageous and decent souls who gave refuge to hunted Jews or despetate Tutsis. They are the religious believers of many faiths who struggled against the tide of evil, and spread instead a message of love, tolerance, and common­ality. They are the non-governmental organizations that warned against incipient



genocides and carefully documented those they were unable to prevent. They are the leaders and common soldiers - American, British, Soviet, Vietnamese, Indian, Tanzanian, Rwandan, and others - who vanquished genocidal regimes in modern times.2 And yes, they are the scholars and intellectuals who have honed our under­standing of genocide, while at the same time working outside the ivory tower to alleviate it. You will meet some of these individuals in this book. I hope their stories and actions will inspire you to believe that a future free of genocide and other crimes against humanity is possible. But. . .

Studying genocide, and trying to prevent it, is not to be entered into lightly: as the French political scientist Jacques Semelin asks, "Who is ever really prepared for the shock of tales of cruelty in all their naked horror?"3 The psychological and emotional impact that genocide studies can have on the investigator has yet to be systematically studied. How many genocide students, scholars, and activists suffer, as do their countetparts in the human rights and social work fields?4 How many experience depression, insomnia, and nightmares as a result of having immersed themselves in the most atrocious human conduct?

The trauma is especially intense for those who have actually witnessed genocide, or its direct consequences. During the Turkish genocide against Armenians (Chapter 4), the US Ambassador to Constantinople, Henry Morgenthau, received a stream of American missionaries who had managed to escape the killing zone. "For hours they would sit in my office with tears streaming down their faces," Morgenthau recalled; many had been "broken in health" by what they had witnessed.5 In 1948, the Jewish jurist Raphael Lemkin, who learned when World War II ended that dozens of his family members had perished in the Holocaust (Chapter 6), wrote: "Genocide has taken the lives of my dear ones; the fight against genocide takes my health."6 My friend Christian Scherrer, who works at the Hiroshima Peace Institute, arrived in Rwanda in November 1994 as part of a United Nations investigation team, only a few months after the slaughter of perhaps a million people had ended (see Chapter 9). Rotting bodies were still strewn across the landscape. "For weeks," Scherrer writes,

following directions given by witnesses, I carefully made my way, step by step, over farmland and grassland. Under my feet, often only half covered with earth, lay the remains of hundreds, indeed thousands . . . Many of those who came from outside shared the experience of hundreds of thousands of Rwandans of con­tinuing, for months on end, or even longer, to grieve, to weep internally, and, night after night, to be unable to sleep longer than an hour or two.

Scherrer described the experience as "one of the most painful processes I have ever been through," and the writing of his book, Genocide and Crisis, as "part of a personal process of grieving." "Investigation into genocide," he added, "is something that remains with one for life."7

I encourage you - especially if you are just beginning your exploration of genocide - to be attentive to signs of personal stress. Talk about it with fellow students, col­leagues, family, or friends. Dwell on the positive examples of bravery, rescue, and



love for others that the study of genocide regularly provides (see, e.g., pp. 402-12, Box 10.3). If necessary, seek counseling through the resources available on your campus or in your community.

It is also worth recalling that genocide scholars are far from alone as members of a profession that must confront suffering and mortality. Indeed, we are often privileged to maintain an arm's-length distance from those realities, unlike many other (often underappreciated and poorly recompensed) workers. The point was made to me by Meaghen Gallagher, an undergraduate student in Edmonton, Canada, who in October 2009 encountered the field of comparative genocide studies for the first time. She wrote,

Really, you chose a very interesting field of study, in my opinion. It might be datk, but it is something that people are so afraid to talk about, when it really needs to be brought into light... I guess it is just like anything. Nurses, police, emergency technicians, philanthropists, they all have to deal with some pretty tough things, but someone has to do it, right?8


I see genocide as among history's defining features, overlapping a range of central historical processes: war, imperialism, state-building, and class struggle, from antiq­uity to the present. It is intimately linked to key institutions, in which state or broadly political authorities are often but not always principal actors, such as forced labor, military conscription, incarceration, and female infanticide.

I adopt a comparative approach that does not elevate particular genocides over others, except to the extent that scale and intensity warrant special attention. I argue that virtually all definable human groups - the ethnic, national, racial, and religious ones that anchor the legal definition of genocide, and others besides - have been victims of genocide, and are vulnerable in specific contexts today. Equally, most human collectivities - even vulnerable and oppressed ones - have proven capable of inflicting genocide. This can be painful for genocide scholars to acknowledge. But it will be confronted head-on in this volume. Taboos and tender sensibilities take a back seat to getting to grips with genocide - to reduce the chances that mystification and wishful thinking will cloud recognition, and thereby blunt effective opposition.

The first part of Genocide: A Comprehensive Introduction seeks to ground readers in the basic historical and conceptual contexts of genocide. It explores the process by which Raphael Lemkin first named and defined the phenomenon, then mobilized a nascent United Nations to outlaw it. His story constitutes a vivid and inspiring portrait of an individual who had a significant, largely unsung impact on modern history. Examination of legal and scholarly definitions and debates may help readers to clarify their own thinking, and situate themselves in the discussion.

The case study section of the book (Part 2) is divided between longer case studies of genocide and capsule studies that complement the detailed treatments. I hope this structure will catalyze discussion and comparative analysis.



The first three chaptets of Part 3 explore social-scientific contributions to the study of genocide - from psychology, sociology, anthropology, and political science/ international relations. Let me indicate the scope and limitations of this analysis. I am a political scientist by training. As well as devoting a chapter to perspectives from this discipline, I incorporate its insights elsewhere in the text (notably in Chapter 2 on "State and Empire; War and Revolution," and Chapter 16 on "Strategies of Intervention and Prevention"). Likewise, Chapter 14 on "Memory, Forgetting, and Denial" touches on a significant discussion among professional historians, while the analysis of "Justice, Truth, and Redress" (Chapter 15), as well as parts of Chapter 1 on "The Origins of Genocide," explore relevant developments and debates in international law.

However, even if a synoptic examination of all these disciplines' insights were possible, given space limitations, I would be unable to provide it. The proliferation of academic production, of schools and subschools, has effectively obliterated the "Renaissance" man or woman, who once moved with facility among varied fields of knowledge. Accordingly, throughout these chapters, my ambition is modest. I seek only to introduce readers to some useful scholarly framings, together with insights that I have found especially relevant and simulating.

This book at least engages with a field — genocide studies — that has been inter­disciplinary from the start. The development of strict disciplinary boundaries is a modern invention, reflecting the growing scale and bureaucratization of academia. The barriers it establishes among disciplines are artificial. Political scientists draw on insights from history, sociology, and psychology, and their own work finds readers in those disciplines. Sociology and anthropology are closely related: the former developed as a study of the societies of the industrial West, while in the latter, Westerners studied "primitive" or preindustrial societies. Other linkages and points of interpenettation could be cited. The point is that consideration of a given theme under the rubric of a particular discipline may be arbitrary. To take just one example, "ethnicity" can be approached from sociological, anthropological, psychological, and political science perspectives. I discuss it principally in its sociological context, but would not wish to see it fixed there.

Part 4, "The Future of Genocide," seeks to familiarize readers with contemporary debates over historical memory and genocide denial, as well as mechanisms of justice and tedress. The final chapter, "Strategies of Intervention and Prevention," allows readers to evaluate options for suppressing the scourge.

"How does one handle this subject?" wrote Terrence Des Pres in the Preface to The Survivor, his study of life in the Nazi concentration camps. His answer: "One doesn't; not well, not finally. No degree of scope or care can equal the enormity of such events or suffice for the sorrow they encompass. Not to betray it is as much as I can hope for."9 His words resonate. In my heart, I know this book is an audacious enterprise, but I have tried to expand the limits of my empathy and, through wide reading, my intetdisciplinary understanding. I have also benefited from the insights and corrections of other scholars and general readers, whose names appear in the acknowledgments.

While I must depict particular genocides (and the contributions of entire academic disciplines) in very broad strokes, I have tried throughout to find room for indi­



viduals, whether as victims, perpetrators, or rescuers. I hope this serves to countet some of the abstraction and depersonalization that is inevitable in a general survey. A list of relevant internet sources, along with links, teaching resources, and an exten­sive "Filmography of Genocide and Crimes against Humanity," can be found on the Web page for this book at .10


The core structure of Genocide: A Comprehensive Introduction remains unaltered from the first edition, and many sections are reproduced virtually intact. However, data, analysis, and references have all been updated, and content revised throughout. In the introductory chapter, I have added discussions of the concept of "destruction," especially as it pertains to "cultural genocide" and the question of whether physical killing defines genocide. I still lean toward the killing-focused definition advanced in the first edition, but I want to do justice to this debate, particularly for readers who find my framing too limiting. I have included a box text on the "other -cides" of genocide, and another providing a lexicon of key modern genocides. I have added discussions of multiple and overlapping identities in genocide, as well as dynamism and contingency, and have reworked the section on genocidal intent.

Chapter 2, retitled "State and Empire; War and Revolution," focuses mote closely on genocide and nation-state formation and expansion, a central theme in some tecent investigations (notably historian Mark Levene's two-volume Genocide in the Age of the Nation-State). The first case-study chapter, on "Genocides of Indigenous Peoples" (Chapter 3), has had the Guatemala micro-study extracted, considerably expanded, and redeployed as a supplementary case-study (Box 3a). The original box text, on the Chinese despoliation of Tibet, has been incorporated in somewhat condensed form into a revised Chapter 5, which has shifted from a study of "Stalin's Terror" to a wider consideration of the two great communist tyrants of the twentieth century, Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong (including Mao's targeting of Tibetans). It was at the urging of Israel Charny, former president of the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS), that I first considered this dual approach. I thank Israel for the suggestion, and for the many lively discussions I have had with him over the years.

Chapter 4 has been reconfigured as "The Ottoman Destruction of Christian Minorities." In its original form, it offered a straightforward study of the Armenian genocide, with some peripheral comments on the destruction of Assyrian, Greek, and Chaldean populations. Since that edition appeared, a successful campaign has been mounted - in which I have played a role - to expand out framing of the genocide of the 1910s and early 1920s to appreciate the diverse genocides (plural) inflicted upon the Christian minorities of Anatolia. My chapter thus includes more material on the Greek and Assyrian catastrophes, while still addressing in detail the Armenian geno­cide, which together with the Holocaust was so central to the emetgence of the field of comparative genocide studies.

Elsewhere, the box-text (4a) on the Anfal Campaign against Iraqi Kurds in 1988 has been replaced by a study of mote tecent genocidal events in Iraq, following the



US-British invasion of 2003. The original Anfal treatment is still available on the book's website (). I have also replaced two of the personal "stories" in the case-study chapters (Chapters 4 and 7) with fresh voices. Chapter 13, on gender, and Chapter 14, on "Memory, Forgetting, and Denial," have been significantly revised and expanded. Finally, in Chapter 16, I have included a long box-text on cases that might be considered "success stories" of coexistence and genocide prevention.

Other changes are more minor and incremental. The intention throughout has been to provide a comprehensive updating, revision, and sometimes rethinking. Readers' comments and feedback on the first edition were most helpful in preparing its successor. I especially thank the educators around the world who have adopted Genocide: A Comprehensive Introduction as a core text for their undergraduate and graduate courses, and who shared with me their evaluations of how it works as a teaching tool. I welcome comments, criticisms, and suggestions for future editions: please write to me at adam@.


1 George Orwell, "Politics and the English Language" (1946), in Inside the Whale and Other Essays (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 197A). Available on the Web at http://www.resort. com/-prime8/Orwell/patee.html.

2 The Second World War Allies against the Nazis and Japanese; Tanzanians against Idi Amin's Uganda; Vietnamese in Cambodia in 1979; Indians in Bangladesh in 1971; sol-diets of the Rwandan Patriotic Front in 1994. See also Chapter 16.

3 Jacques Semelin, Purify and Destroy: The Political Uses of Massacre and Genocide (New York: Columbia University Press, 2007), p. 6.

4 Writing the fitst in-depth study of the Soviet "terror-famine" in Ukraine in 1932-33 (see Chapter 5), Robert Conquest confronted only indirectly the "inhuman, unimaginable misery" of the famine; but he still found the task "so distressing that [I] sometimes hardly felt able to proceed." Conquest, The Harvest of Sorrow: Soviet Collectivization and the Terror-Famine (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986), p. 10. Donald Miller and Lorna Touryan Miller, who interviewed a hundred survivors of the Armenian genocide, wrote: "During this project our emotions have ranged from melancholy to anger, from feeling guilty about our own privileged status to being overwhelmed by the continuing suffering in our world." They described experiencing "a permanent loss of innocence about the human capacity for evil," as well as "a recognition of the need to combat such evil." Miller and Miller, Survivors: An Oral History of the Armenian Genocide (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1999), p. 4. After an immersion in the archive of S-21 (Tuol Sleng), the Khmer Rouge killing center in Cambodia, David Chandler found that "the terror lurking inside it has pushed me around, blunted my skills, and eroded my self-assurance. The experience at times has been akin to drowning." Chandler, Voices from S-21: Terror and History in Pol Pot's Secret Prison (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1999), p. 145. Brandon Hamber notes that "many of the staff working with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa have experienced "nightmares, paranoia, emotional bluntness, physical problems (e.g. headaches, ulcers, exhaustion, etc.), high levels of anxiety, irritability and aggression, relationship difficulties and substance abuse related problems." Hamber, "The Burdens of Truth," in David E. Lorey and William H. Beezley, eds, Genocide, Collective Violence, and Popular Memory: The Politics of Remembrance in the Twentieth Century (Wilmington, DL: Scholarly Resources, Inc., 2002), p. 96.



5 Peter Balakian, The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and America s Response (New York: HarperCollins, 2003), p. 278.

6 Lemkin, quoted in John Cooper, Raphael Lemkin and the Struggle for the Genocide Convention (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008), p. 169.

7 Christian P. Scherrer, Genocide and Crisis in Central Africa: Conflict Roots, Mass Violence, and Regional War (Westport, CT: Ptaeger, 2002), pp. 1, 7.

8 Meaghen Gallagher, personal communication, October 11, 2009.

9 Terrence Des Pres, The Survivor: An Anatomy of Life in the Death Camps (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1976), pp. v-vi.

10 Readers who are interested in the background to my engagement with genocide studies can consult the short essay, "Genocide: A Personal Journey," at http://www.genocidetext. net/personal_journey.htm.



Genocide: A Comprehensive Introduction was born over a 2003 dinner in Durban, South Africa, at which I chanced to sit beside Taylor & Francis commissioning editor Craig Fowlie. I am truly grateful for Craig's early and enduring support. He also provided encouragement and guidance in the crafting of this second edition. Thanks to Nadia Seemungul, Steve Thompson, Nicola Parkin, and Emily Senior on the administrative side at Routledge; and to Ann King and Susan Dunsmore for their sterling copy-editing.

The bulk of the first edition of Genocide: A Comprehensive Introduction was written while working as a researcher at the CIDE institute in Mexico City. My research assistant, Pamela Huerta, compiled comprehensive briefs for the Cambodia case study and the Tibet and Congo/Darfur materials. Her skill and enthusiasm were greatly appreciated.

Much of the first edition was written in 2004 during travels through Argentina's Cordoba province, and holed up in an apartment in vibrant Buenos Aires. My thanks to the Argentine friends who welcomed me, especially Julieta and Juan Pablo Ayala; to the hoteliers, and apartment agents who put me up along the way; and to the restaurant staff who kept me fueled with that awesome steak and vino tinto.

The manuscript was completed in the Mexico City home of Jessica and Esperanza Rodriguez; my warm thanks to both. In Puebla, Fabiola Martinez asked challenging questions, engaged in probing discussions, and supplied tender care besides. Gracias, mi Fabi-losa.

What one could call "post-production" on the first edition took place at Yale Univetsity, where I was fortunate to obtain a two-year postdoctoral fellowship in



the Genocide Studies Program for 2005-07. I was honored by the opportunity to conduct research at one of the world's leading universities, and am deeply grateful to Ben Kiernan, director of Yale's Genocide Studies Program (GSP), for his interest in my work and support of it over the past few years. I also acknowledge with gratitude the financial assistance of Frederick J. Iseman, Esq., whose donation to the GSP substantially funded the post-doctoral fellowship that brought me to the program, and allowed me to finish work on Genocide: A Comprehensive Introduction with access to the rich human and material resources at Yale. The Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale co-sponsored the fellowship, and provided me with a memorable teaching opportunity. Many thanks to its director Ian Shapiro, associate director Richard Kane, and the many wondetful academics, administrators, students, and guest speakers whom I encountered during my time in residence.

My colleagues in the Political Science program at the University of British Columbia Okanagan (UBCO), which I joined in 2007, have been most welcoming and supportive. Students in my "Genocide: An Interdisciplinary Perspective" and "Crimes against Humanity" courses have consistently challenged and enlightened me. I also wish to acknowledge the sterling research assistance, for this and closely related projects, provided at UBCO by Sasha Johnston and Jill Mitchell. Sasha was indispensable in helping me to organize and collate by subject the years' worth of "Media Files" on genocide and crimes against humanity that I have disseminated through my blog (). Jill had the thankless task of checking all the Web links in this book, which she did efficiently and with panache.

Kenneth J. Campbell, Jo and David Jones, Rene Lemarchand, Benjamin Madley, and Nicholas Robins generously read the entire manuscript of the first edition. I benefited enormously from their feedback. Jo and David's meticulous proofread­ing might have landed them in the dedication to this volume even if they weren't my parents. As for Ben Madley, our weekly or biweekly lunches at Yale, when we went through his insightful comments on the manuscript, were simply the most stimulating and thought-provoking discussions I have ever had about genocide. As with Jo and David, there are few pages of this book that do not bear Ben's stamp.

All three of these parties read much or all of the second edition as well, saving me — and sparing you - more soggy verbiage and outright errors than I care to recall. Bless them. Other scholars, professionals, and general readers who read and commented on various chapters of the first and second editions include: Jennifer Archer, Peter Balakian, Donald Bloxham, Peter Burns, David Gaunt, Thea Halo, Alex Hinton, Kal Holsti, Craig Jones, Ben Kiernan, Mark Levene, Evelin Lindner, Linda Melvern, Kathleen Morrow, A. Dirk Moses, Margaret Power, John Quigley, Victoria Sanford, Christian Scherrer, and Hannibal Travis. Although I have not always heeded these individuals' suggestions, their perspectives have been crucial, and have rescued me from numerous mistakes and misinterpretations. I accept full responsibility for those that doubtless remain.

This second edition is much richer in images than the first, and I am grateful to the individuals who both contributed visual materials (as credited in the text) and helped me to arrange reprint rights when necessary. For the latter, thanks to Magnus Bergmar at the World's Children's Prize Foundation; Elisa Marquez at AP Photo;



Michael Shulman at Magnum Photos; Victoria Enaut and Catina Tanner at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY); Melanie Modlin at the National Library of Medicine in Bethesda, Maryland; Raymond Pettit of the Equipo Argentino de Antropologia Forense (EAAF); Martha Smalley at the Yale Divinity School Library; Betty Smith of International Publishers; Tanya Elder and Tammy Kiter, archivists at the American Jewish Historical Society; Pietre Sauvage of the Chambon Foundation; and Ying-Ying Chang, mother of the late Iris Chang.

Friends and family have always buttressed me, and stoked my passion for studying history and humanity. This book could not have been written without the nurture and guidance provided by my parents and my brother, Craig. Warmest thanks also to Atenea Acevedo, Carla Bergman, David Buchanan, Charli Carpenter, Mike Charko, Ferrel Christensen, Katelyn Craig, Terry and Meghan Evenson, Jay Forster, Andrea and Steve Gunner, Alison and Gen Houweling, Henry Huttenbach, Maria Johnson, David Liebe, John Margesson, the late Eric Markusen, Peter Prontzos, Hamish Telford, and Miriam Tratt.

Dr. Griselda Ramirez Reyes shares the dedication of this work. Griselda is a pediatric neurosurgeon at the Siglo XXI medical center in Mexico City. I have stood literally at her elbow as she opened the head of a three-week-old girl, and extracted a cancerous tumor seemingly half the size of the infant's brain. (I hope to open a few minds myself with this work, but I would not pretend the task compares.) Since this book was first published, Griselda has accompanied me on journeys to a number of the sites that resonated with me as I prepared this new edition — among them Tuol Sleng, My Lai, the Plain of Jars, Ground Zero in New York City, Lidice, Auschwitz-Birkenau, and (on a more optimistic note) the cosmopolitan city of Kazan in Tatarstan, Russia. It is a huge salve and pleasure to have her company while I try to absorb this material and make some sense of it.

Adam Jones Kelowna, BC, April 2010 adam@genocidetext. net



The Origins of Genocide

This chapter analyzes the origins of genocide as a global-historical phenomenon, providing a sense of genocide's frequency through history. It then examines the origin and evolution of the concept, unravels some central theoretical debates, and explores "contested cases" that test the boundaries of the genocide framework. No other chapter in the book tries to cover so much ground, and the discussion may at points seem complicated and confusing, so please fasten your seatbelts.


"The word is new, the concept is ancient," wrote sociologist Leo Kuper in his seminal 1981 text of genocide studies.1* The roots of genocide are lost in distant millennia, and will remain so unless an "archaeology of genocide" can be developed.2 The difficulty, as Frank Chalk and Kurt Jonassohn pointed out in their study The History and Sociology of Genocide, is that such historical records as exist are ambiguous and

* Throughout rhis book, to reduce footnoting, I gather sequential quotations and citations from the same source into an omnibus note at the end of the passage. Epigraphs for chapters and sections are not footnoted. All Web links cited in the notes were "live" as of early 2010. If you find one broken, search the title of the source in quotation marks; often it will be archived elsewhere. I have included link addresses for media and other reports when they are in a reasonably concise format. Where I consider them too lengthy and ungainly to print, a Web search by author and title will genetally bring them up.



undependable. While history today is generally written with some fealty to "objective" facts, many past accounts aimed to praise the writer's patron (normally a powerful leader) and to emphasize the superiority of one's own religious beliefs. They may also have been intended as good stories — so that when Homer quotes King Agamemnon's quintessential pronouncement of root-and-branch genocide, one cannot know what basis it might have in fact:

We are not going to leave a single one of them alive, down to the babies in their mothers' wombs — not even they must live. The whole people must be wiped out of existence, and none be left to think of them and shed a tear.3

Factually reliable or not, Agamemnon's command encapsulates a fantasy of kings and commoners alike. Humanity has always nurtured conceptions of social difference that generate a sense of in-group versus out-group, as well as hierarchies of good and evil, superior and inferior, desirable and undesirable. As Chalk and Jonassohn observed:

Historically and anthropologically peoples have always had a name for themselves. In a gteat many cases, that name meant "the people" to set the owners of that name off against all othet people who were considered of lesser quality in some way. If the differences between the people and some other society were particularly large in terms of religion, language, manners, customs, and so on, then such others were seen as less than fully human: pagans, savages, or even animals.4

The fewer the shared values and standards, the more likely members of the out-group were (and are) to find themselves beyond the "universe of obligation," in sociologist Helen Fein's evocative phrase. Hence the advent of "religious traditions of contempt and collective defamation, stereotypes, and derogatory metaphor indicating the victim is inferior, sub-human (animals, insects, germs, viruses) or super-human (Satanic, omnipotent)." If certain classes of people are "pre-defined as alien . . . subhuman or dehumanized, or the enemy," it follows that they must "be eliminated in order that we may live (Them or Us)."5

An example of this mindset is the text that underpins the Christian, Jewish, and Muslim cultural traditions: the Old Testament (particularly its first five books, the Pentateuch). In general, these texts depict God as "a despotic and capricious sadist,"6 and his followers as eager genocidaires (genocidal killers). The trend begins in the Book of Genesis (6:17-19), where God decides "to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life from under heaven," with the exception of Noah and a nucleus of human and animal life.7 In "the most unequivocally extirpatory of [the] Old Testament texts,"8 1 Samuel 15: 2—3, "the Lord of hosts" declares: "I will punish the Amalekites for what they did in opposing the Israelites when they came up out of Egypt. Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have; do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey."9

The Midianites in Numbers 31:7-18 fare little better, but even the minimal selec­tivity at the outset vexes Moses:



They warred against Midian, as the Lord commanded Moses, and slew every male. . . . And the people of Israel took captive the women of Midian and their little ones; and they took as booty all their cattle, their flocks, and all their goods. All theit cities . . . they burned with fire. . . . And Moses was angry with the officers of the army. . . . [He] said to them, "Have you let all the women live? Behold, these caused the people of Israel, by the counsel of Balaam, to act treacherously against the Lord . . . and so the plague came to the congregations of the Lord. Now, therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known man by lying with him [sexually]. But all the young girls who have not known man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.10

As this passage suggests, genocides in prehistory and antiquity were often designed not just to eradicate enemy ethnicities, but to incorporate and exploit some of their members. Generally, it was children (particularly girls) and women (particularly virgins, or those in the associated age group) who were spared murder. They were simultaneously seen as the group least able to offer resistance, and as sources of offspring for the dominant group, descent in patrilineal society being traced through the male bloodline. By contrast, "every male" was often killed, "even the little ones." We see here the roots of gendercide against men and boys, including male infants, discussed further in Chapter 13.

A combination of gender-selective mass killing and root-and-branch genocide pervades accounts of ancient wars. Chalk and Jonassohn provide a wide-ranging selec­tion of historical events such as the Assyrian Empire's root-and-branch depredations in the first half of the first millennium BCE,* and the destruction of Melos by Athens during the Peloponnesian Wat (fifth century BCE), a gendercidal rampage described byThucydides in his "Melian Dialogue."

The Roman siege and eventual razing of Carthage at the close of the Third Punic War (149-46 BCE) has been labeled "The First Genocide" by historian Ben Kiernan. The "first" designation is debatable; the label of genocide, less so. Fueled by the documented ideological zealotry of the senator Cato, Rome sought to suppress the supposed threat posed by (disarmed, mercantile) Carthage. "Of a population of 2-400,000, at least 150,000 Carthaginians perished," writes Kiernan. The "Carthaginian solution" found many echoes in the warfare of subsequent centuries.11

Among Rome's other victims during its imperial ascendancy were the followers of Jesus Christ. After his death at Roman hands in 33 CE, Chtist's followers were subjected to persecutions and mass murder. The scenes of torture and public spectacle were duplicated by Christians themselves during Europe's medieval era (approxi­mately the ninth to fourteenth centuries CE). This period produced onslaughts such as the Crusades: religiously sanctified campaigns against "unbelievers," whether in France (the Albigensian crusade against Cathar heretics), Germany (against Jews), or the Holy Land of the Middle East.12

* "BCE" means "Before the Common Era," and replaces the more familiar but ethnocentric "BC" (Before Christ). "CE" replaces "AD" (Anno Domini, Latin for "year of rhe Lord"). For discussion, see , "The Use of 'CE' and 'BCE' to Identify Dates," http://www.teligioustolerance. org/ce.htm.



Further genocidaires arose on the other side of the world. In the thirteenth century, a million or so Mongol horsemen under their leader, Genghis Khan, surged out of the grasslands of East Asia to lay waste to vast territories, extending to the gates of Western Europe; "entire nations were exterminated, leaving behind nothing but rubble, fallow fields, and bones."13

In addition to religious and cultural beliefs, a hunger for wealth, power, and "death-defying" glory seems to have motivated these acts of mass violence (see Chapter 10). These factors combined to fuel the genocides of the early modern era, dating from approximately 1492, the year of Caribbean Indians' fateful encounter with Christopher Columbus. The consequences of contact between expansionist Europeans and indigenous peoples are detailed in Chapter 3. The next section focuses briefly on two cases from the early modern era: one from Europe, presaging the genocidal civil wars of the twentieth century; and one from Africa, reminding us that genocide knows no geographical or cultural boundaries.

The Vendee uprising

In 1789, French rebels, inspired by the American revolutionaries, overthrew King Louis XVI and established a new order based on the "Rights of Man." The French revolution provoked immediate opposition at home and abroad. European armies massed on French borders, and in March 1793 — following the execution of King Louis and the imposition of mass military conscription - revolt erupted in the Vendee. The population of this isolated and conservative region of western France declared itself opposed to conscription, and to the replacement of their priests by pro-revolutionary designates. Well trained and led by royalist officers, Vendeans rose up against the rapidly radicalizing central government: the "Terror" of the Jacobin faction was instituted in the same month as the rebellion in St.-Florent-le-Vieil. The result was a civil war that, according to French author Reynald Secher, constituted a genocide against the Vendeans - and for historian Mark Levene, a turning point in the evolution of genocide.u

Early Vendean victories were achieved through the involvement of all demographic sectors of the Vendee, and humiliated the Republican government. Fueled by the ideological fervor of the Terror, and by foreign and domestic counter-revolution, the Republicans in Paris implemented a campaign of root-and-branch genocide. Under Generals Jean-Baptiste Carrier and Louis Marie Turreau, the Republicans launched a scorched-earth drive by the colonnes infernales ("hellish columns"). On December 11,1793, Carrier wrote to the Committee of Public Safety in Paris, pledging to purge the Vendean peasantry "absolutely and totally."15 Similat edicts by General Turreau in early 1794 were approved by the Committee, which declared that the "race of brigands" in the Vendee was to be "exterminated to the last." Targeted victims included even children, who were "just as dangerous [as adults], because they were or were in the process of becoming brigands." Extermination was "both sound and pure," the Committee wrote, and should "show great results."15

The slaughter targeted all Vendeans, including Republicans (these victims were seen as "collateral damage"). Specifically, none of the traditional gender-selective



exemptions was granted to adult females, who stood accused of fomenting the rebellion through their defense of conservative religion, and their "goadfing] . . . into martyrdom" of Vendean men.17 In the account of a Vendean abbe, perhaps self-interested but buttressed by other testimony:

There were poor girls, completely naked, hanging from tree branches, hands tied behind their backs, after having been raped. It was fortunate that, with the Blues [Republicans] gone, some charitable passersby delivered them from this shameful torment. Elsewhete . . . pregnant women were stretched out and crushed beneath wine presses. . . . Bloody limbs and nursing infants were carried in triumph on the points of bayonets.18

Perhaps 150,000 Vendeans died in the carnage, though not all were civilians. The character of the killings was conveyed by post-genocide census figutes, which evidenced not the usual war-related disparity of male versus female victims, but a rough - and unusual — parity. Only after this "ferocious. . . expression of ideologically charged avenging tettor,"19 and with the collapse of the Committee of Public Safety in Paris, did the genocide wane, though scattered clashes with rebels continued through 1796.

In a comparative context, the Vendee uprising stands as an example of a mass-killing campaign that has only recently been conceptualized as "genocide." This designation is not universally shared, but it seems apt in light of the large-scale murder of a designated group (the Vendean civilian population).

Zulu genocide

Between 1810 and 1828, the Zulu kingdom under its dictatorial leader, Shaka Zulu, waged an ambitious campaign of expansion and annihilation. Huge swathes of present-day South Africa and Zimbabwe were laid waste by Zulu armies. The European invasion of these regions, which began shortly after, was greatly assisted by the upheaval and depopulation caused by the Zulu assault.

Oral histories help document the scale of the destruction:20 "To this day, peoples in Zimbabwe, Malawi, Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya, and Uganda can trace their descent back to the refugees who fled from Shaka's warriors."21 At times, Shaka apparently implemented a gender-selective extermination strategy that may be unique in the historical record. In conquering the Butelezi clan, Shaka "conceived the then [and still] quite novel idea of uttetly demolishing them as a separate tribal entity by incorporating all their manhood into his own clan oi following," thereby bolstering his own military; but he "usually destroyed women, infants, and old people," who were deemed useless for his expansionist purposes.22

However, root-and-branch strategies reminiscent of the French rampage in the Vendee seem also to have been common. According to historian Michael Mahoney, Zulu armies often aimed not only at defeating enemies but at "their total destruction. Those exterminated included not only whole armies, but also prisoners of war, women, children, and even dogs."23 In exterminating the followers of Beje, a minor



Kumalo chief, Shaka determined "not to leave alive even a child, but [to] exterminate the whole tribe," according to a foreign witness. When the foreigners protested against the slaughter of women and children, claiming they "could do no injury," Shaka responded in language that would have been familiar to the French revolutionaries: "Yes they could," he declared. "They can propagate and bting [bear] children, who may become my enemies . . . therefore I command you to kill all."24

Mahoney has characterized these policies as genocidal. "If genocide is defined as a state-mandated effort to annihilate whole peoples, then Shaka's actions in this regard must certainly qualify." He points out that the term adopted by the Zulus to denote theit campaign of expansion and conquest, izwekufa, derives "from Zulu izwe (nation, people, polity), and ukufa (death, dying, to die). The term is thus identical to 'genocide' in both meaning and etymology."25


Genocide is an absolute word - a howl of a word . . .

Lance Morrow

Until the Second World War, genocide was a "crime without a name," in the wotds of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.26 The man who named the ctime, placed it in a global-historical context, and demanded intervention and remedial action was a Polish-Jewish jurist, a refugee from Nazi-occupied Europe, named Raphael Lemkin (1900—59). His story is one of the most remarkable of the twentieth century.

Lemkin is an exceptional example of a "norm entrepreneur" (see Chapter 12). In the space of four years, he coined a term - genocide - that concisely defined an age-old phenomenon. He supported it with a wealth of documentation. He published a lengthy book {Axis Rule in Occupied Europe) that applied the concept to campaigns of genocide underway in Lemkin's native Poland and elsewhere in the Nazi-occupied territories. He then waged a successful campaign to persuade the new United Nations to dtaft a convention against genocide; another successful campaign to obtain the required number of signatures; and yet anothet to secure the necessary national ratifi­cations. Yet Lemkin lived in penury — in surely his wittiest recorded comment, he described himself as "pleading a holy cause at the UN while wearing holey clothes,"27 and he died in obscurity in 1959; his funeral drew just seven people. Only in recent years has the promise of his concept, and the UN convention that incorporated it, begun to be realized.

Growing up in a Jewish family in Wolkowysk, a town in eastern Poland, Lemkin developed a talent for languages (he would end up mastering a dozen or more), and a passionate curiosity about the cultures that produced them. He was struck by accounts of the suffering of Christians at Roman hands, and its parallel in the pogroms then afflicting the Jews of eastern Poland. More generally, as John Cooper notes, "growing up in a contested borderland over which different armies clashed . . . made Lemkin acutely sensitive to the concerns of the diverse nationalities living there and their anxieties about self-preservation."28



Thus began Lemkin's lifelong study of mass killing in history and the contem­porary world. He "raced through an unusually grim reading list"29 that familiarized him with cases from antiquity and the medieval era (including Carthage, discussed above, and the fate of the Aztec and Inca empires, described in Chapter 3). "I was appalled by the frequency of the evil," he recalled later, "and, above all, by the impunity coldly relied upon by the guilty."30Why? was the question that began to consume Lemkin. A key moment came in 1921, while he was studying at the University of Lvov. Soghomon Tehlirian, an Armenian avenger of the Ottoman destruction of Christian minorities (Chapter 4), was arrested for murder after he gunned down one of the genocide's architects, Talat Pasha, in a Berlin street. In the same year, leading planners and perpetrators of the genocide were freed by the British from custody in Malta, as part of the Allies' postwar courting of a resurgent Turkey. Lemkin wrote that he was "shocked" by the juxtaposition: "A nation was killed and the guilty persons were set free. Why is a man punished when he kills another man? Why is the killing of a million a lesser crime than the killing of a single individual?"31

Lemkin determined to stage an intellectual and activist intervention in what he at first called "barbarity" and "vandalism." The former referred to "the premeditated destruction of national, racial, religious and social collectivities," while the latter he described as the "destruction of works of art and culture, being the expression of the particular genius of these collectivities."32 At a conference of European legal scholars in Madrid in 1933, Lemkin's framing was first presented (though not by its author; the Polish government denied him a travel visa). Despite the post-First World War prosecutions of Turks for "crimes against humanity" (Chapters 4, 15), governments and public opinion leaders were still wedded to the notion that state sovereignty trumped atrocities against a state's own citizens. It was this legal impunity that rankled and galvanized Lemkin more than anything else. Yet the Madrid delegates did not share his concern. They refused to adopt a resolution against the crimes Lemkin set before them; the matter was tabled.

Undeterred, Lemkin continued his campaign. He presented his arguments in legal forums throughout Europe in the 1930s, and as far afield as Cairo, Egypt. The outbreak of the Second World War found him at the heart of the inferno - in Poland, with Nazi forces invading from the West, and Soviets from the East. As Polish resistance crumbled, Lemkin took flight. He traveled first to eastern Poland, and then to Vilnius, Lithuania. From that Baltic city he succeeded in securing refuge in Sweden.

After teaching in Stockholm, the United States beckoned. Lemkin believed the US would be both receptive to his framework, and in a position to actualize it in a way that Europe under the Nazi yoke could not. An epic 14,000-mile journey took him across the Soviet Union by train to Vladivostok, by boat to Japan, and across the Pacific. In the US, he moonlighted at Yale University's Law School before moving to Durham, North Carolina, where he became a professor at Duke University.

In his new American surroundings, Lemkin struggled with his concepts and vocabulary. "Vandalism" and "barbarity" had not struck a chord with his legal audiences. Inspired by, of all things, the Kodak camera,33 Lemkin trawled through his impressive linguistic resources for a term that was concise and memorable. He settled



Figure 1.1 Raphael Lemkin (1900-59), founder of genocide studies.

Source: American Jewish Historical Society.

on a neologism with both Greek and Latin roots: the Greek "genos," meaning race or tribe, and the Latin "cide," or killing. "Genocide" was the intentional destruction of national groups on the basis of their collective identity. Physical killing was an important part of the pictute, but it was only a part:

By "genocide" we mean the destruction of a nation or an ethnic group. . . . Generally speaking, genocide does not necessarily mean the immediate destruction of a nation, except when accomplished by mass killings of all members of a nation. It is intended rather to signify a coordinated plan of different actions aiming at the destruction of essential foundations of the life of national groups, with the aim of annihilating the groups themselves. The objectives of such a plan would be disintegration of the political and social institutions of cultute, language, national feelings, religion, and the economic existence of national groups, and the destruction of the personal security, liberty, health, dignity, and even the lives of the individuals belonging to such groups. Genocide is directed against the national group as an entity, and the actions involved are directed against individuals, not in their individual capacity, but as members of the national group. . . . Genocide has two phases: one, destruction of the national pattern of the oppressed group; the other the imposition of the national pattern of the oppressor. This imposition, in tutn, may be made upon the opptessed population which is



allowed to remain, or upon the territoty alone, after removal of the population and the colonization of the area by the oppressor's own nationals.34

The critical question, for Lemkin, was whether the multifaceted campaign proceeded under the rubric of policy. To the extent that it did, it could be considered genocidal, even if it did not result in the physical destruction of all (or any) members of the group.35 The issue of whether mass killing is definitional to genocide has been debated evet since, by myriad scholars and commentators. Equally vexing for subsequent generations was the emphasis on ethnic and national groups. These predominated as victims in the decades in which Lemkin developed his framework (and in the historical examples he studied). Yet by the end of the 1940s, it was clear that political groups were often targeted for annihilation. Moreover, the appellations applied to "communists," or by communists to "kulaks" or "class enemies" — when imposed by a totalitarian state — seemed every bit as difficult to shake as ethnic identifications, if the Nazi and Stalinist onslaughts were anything to go by. This does not even take into account the important but ambiguous areas of cross-over among ethnic, political, and social categories (see "Multiple and Overlapping Identities," below).

Lemkin, though, would hear little of this. Although he did not exclude political groups as genocide victims, he had a single-minded focus on nationality and ethnicity, for their culture-carrying capacity as he perceived it. His attachment to these core

Figure 1.2 Samantha Power's book "A Problem from Hell": America and the Age of Genocide (2002) won both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award, and contributed to the resurgence of public interest in genocide. Power's work offered also the most derailed and vivid account to that date of Raphael Lemkin's life and his struggle for the UN Genocide Convention. As of 2010, Power was on leave from the Harvard Kennedy School, serving as a special advisor on foreign policy to the Barack Obama administration. She is shown hete speaking at Columbia University, New York, in March 2008.

Source: Courresy Angela Radulescu/www. .



concerns was almost atavistic, and legal scholar Stephen Holmes, for one, has faulted him for it:

Lemkin himself seems to have believed that killing a hundred thousand people of a single ethnicity was very different from killing a hundred thousand people of mixed ethnicities. Like Oswald Spengler, he thought that each cultural group had its own "genius" that should be preserved. To destroy, or attempt to destroy, a culture is a special kind of crime because culture is the unit of collective memory, whereby the legacies of the dead can be kept alive. To kill a culture is to cast its individual membets into individual oblivion, their memories buried with their mortal remains. The idea that killing a culture is "irreversible" in a way that killing an individual is not reveals the strangeness of Lemkin's conception from a liberal-individualist point of view.

This archaic-sounding conception has other illiberal implications as well. For one thing, it means that the murder of a poet is morally worse than the murder of a janitor, because the poet is the "brain" without which the "body" cannot function. This revival of medieval organic imagery is central to Lemkin's idea of genocide as a special crime.36 It is probably true that Lemkin's formulation had its archaic elements. It is certainly the case that subsequent scholarly interpretations of "Lemkin's word" have tended to be more capacious in their framing. What can be defended is Lemkin's emphasis on the collective as a target. One can philosophize about the relative weight ascribed to collectives over the individual, as Holmes does; but the reality of modern times is that the vast majority of those murdered were killed on the basis of a collective identity — even if only one imputed by the killers. The link between collective and mass, then between mass and large-scale extetmination, was the defining dynamic of the twentieth century's unprecedented violence. In his historical studies, Lemkin appears to have read this correctly. Many or most of the examples he cites would be uncontroversial among a majority of genocide scholars today.37 He saw the Nazis' assaults on Jews, Poles, and Polish Jews for what they were, and labeled the broader genre for the ages.

Still, for Lemkin's word to resonate today, and into the future, two further devel­opments were required. The UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (1948), adopted in remarkably short order after Lemkin's indefatigable lobbying, entrenched genocide in international and domestic law. And beginning in the 1970s, a coterie of "comparative genocide scholars," drawing upon a generation's work on the Jewish Holocaust,* began to discuss, debate, and refine Lemkin's concept — a trend that shows no sign of abating.

* I use the word "holocaust" generically in this book to tefer to especially destructive geno­cides, such as those against indigenous peoples in the Americas and elsewhere, Christian minorities in the Ottoman empire during the First World War, Jews and Roma (Gypsies) under the Nazis, and Tutsis in Rwanda in 1994. Most scholais and commentators capitalize the "h" when referring to the Nazi genocide against the Jews, and I follow this usage when citing "the Jewish Holocaust" (see also Chapter 6, n. 1).




Lemkin's extraordinary "norm entrepreneurship" around genocide is described in Chapter 12. Suffice it to say for now that "rarely has a neologism had such rapid success" (legal scholar William Schabas). Barely a year after Lemkin coined the term, it was included in the Nuremberg indictments of Nazi war criminals (Chapter 15). To Lemkin's chagrin, genocide did not figure in the Nuremberg judgments. However, "by the time the General Assembly completed its standard sitting, with the 1948 adoption of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, 'genocide' had a detailed and quite technical definition as a crime against the law of nations."38

The "detailed and quite technical definition" is as follows:

Article I. The Contracting Parties confirm that genocide, whether committed in time of peace or in time of war, is a crime under international law which they undertake to prevent and to punish.

Article II. In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

(a) Killing members of the group;

(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;

(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;

(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

Article III. The following acts shall be punishable:

(a) Genocide;

(b) Conspiracy to commit genocide;

(c) Direct and public incitement to commit genocide;

(d) Attempt to commit genocide;

(e) Complicity in genocide.39

Thematically, Lemkin's conviction that genocide needed to be confronted, whatever the context, was resoundingly endorsed with the Convention's declaration that genocide is a crime "whether committed in time of peace or in time of war." This removed the road-block thrown up by the Nuremberg trials, which had only considered Nazi crimes committed after the invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939.

The basic thrust of Lemkin's emphasis on ethnic and national groups (at the expense of political groups and social classes) also survived the lobbying and drafting process. In the diverse genocidal strategies cited, we see reflected Lemkin's conception of genocide as a "coordinated plan of different actions aiming at the destruction of



essential foundations of the life of national groups, with the aim of annihilating the groups themselves." However, at no point did the Convention's draftets actually define "national, ethnical, racial or religious" groups, and these terms have been subject to considerable subsequent interpretation. The position of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), that "any stable and permanent group" is in fact to be accorded protection under the Convention, is likely to become the norm in future judgments.

With regard to genocidal strategies, the Convention places "stronget emphasis than Lemkin on physical and biological destruction, and less on broader social destruction" as sociologist Martin Shaw points out.40 But note how diverse are the actions considered genocidal in Article II — in matked contrast to the notmal understanding of "genocide." One does not need to exterminate or seek to exter­minate every last member of a designated group. In fact, one does not need to kill anyone at all to commit genocide!'Inflicting "serious bodily or mental harm" qualifies, as does preventing births or transferring children between groups. It is fair to say, however, that from a legal perspective, genocide unaccompanied by mass killing is rarely prosecuted.41 (I return below to the question of killing.)

Controversial and ambiguous phrases in the document include the reference to "serious bodily or mental harm" constituting a form of genocide. In practice, this has been interpreted along the lines of the Israeli trial court decision against Adolf Eichmann in 1961, convicting him of the "enslavement, starvation, deportation and persecution of. . . Jews . . . their detention in ghettos, transit camps and con­centration camps in conditions which were designed to cause their degradation, deprivation of their rights as human beings, and to . . . cause them inhumane suffering and torture." The ICTR adds an interpretation that this includes "bodily or mental torture, inhuman treatment, and persecution," as well as "acts of rape and mutilation." In addition, "several sources correctly take the view that mass depor­tations under inhumane conditions may constitute genocide if accompanied by the requisite intent."42 "Measures to prevent births" may be held to include forced sterilization and separation of the sexes. Sexual trauma and impregnation through gang rape have received increasing attention. The destruction of groups "as such" brought complex questions of motive into play. Some drafters saw it as a means of paying lip-service to the element of motive, while others perceived it as a way to sidestep the issue altogether.

Historically, it is intriguing to note how many issues of genocide definition and interpretation have their roots in contingent and improvised aspects of the drafting process. The initial draft by the UN Secretariat defined genocide's targets as "a group of human beings," adoption of which could have tendered redundant the subsequent debate over which groups qualified.

Responsibility for the exclusion of political groups was long laid at the door of the Soviet Union and its allies, supposedly nervous about application of the Convention to Soviet crimes (see Chapter 5). Schabas quashes this notion, pointing out that "rigorous examination of the travaux [working papers] fails to confirm a popular impression in the literature that the opposition . . . was some Soviet machi­nation." Political collectivities "were actually included within the enumetation [of designated groups] until an eleventh-hour compromise eliminated the reference."43



In the estimation of many genocide scholars, this is the Conventions greatest ovetsight.44 As for the provision against transferring children between groups, it "was added to the Convention almost as an afterthought, with little substantive debate or consideration."45

In its opening sentence, the Convention declares that the Contracting Parties "undertake to prevent and to punish" the crime of genocide. A subsequent article (VIII) states that "any Contracting Party may call upon the competent organs of the United Nations to take such action under the Charter of the United Nations as they consider appropriate for the prevention and suppression of acts of genocide or any of the other acts enumerated in Article III." Yet this leaves actual policy obligations vague.


Between the 1950s and the 1980s, the term "genocide" languished almost unused by scholars. A handful of legal commentaries appeared for a specialized audience.46 In 1975, Vahakn Dadrian's article "A Typology of Genocide" sparked renewed interest in a comparative framing. It was bolstered by Irving Louis Horowitz's Genocide: State Power and Mass Murder (1976), and foundationally by Leo Kuper's Genocide: Its Political Use in the Twentieth Century (1981). Kuper's work, including a subsequent volume on The Prevention of Genocide (1985), was the most significant on genocide since Lemkin's in the 1940s. It was followed by edited volumes and solo publications from Helen Fein, R.J. Rummel, Frank Chalk and Kurt Jonassohn, and Robert Melson, among othets.

This early literature drew upon more than a decade of intensive research on the Holocaust, and most of the scholars were Jewish. "Holocaust Studies" remains central to the field. Still, rereading these pioneering works, one is struck by how inclusive and comparative their framing is. It tends to be global in scope, and interdisciplinary at many points. The classic volumes by Chalk and Jonassohn (The History and Sociology of Genocide) and Totten et al. (Century of Genocide) appeared in the early 1990s, and seemed to sum up this drive for catholicity. So too, despite its heavy focus on the Holocaust, did Israel Charny's Encyclopedia of Genocide (1999). A rich body of case-study literature also developed, with genocides such as those against the Armenians, Cambodians, and East Timorese — as well as indigenous peoples worldwide - receiving serious and sustained attention.

The explosion of public interest in genocide in the 1990s, and the concomitant growth of genocide studies as an academic field, has spawned a profusion of humanistic and social-scientific studies, joined by memoirs and oral histories. (The wider culture has also produced a steady stream of films on genocide and its reverberations, including The Killing Fields, Schindler's List, and Hotel Rwanda^1

To capture the t ichness and diversity of the genocide-studies literature in this short section is impossible. What I hope to do is, fitst, to use that literature constructively throughout this book; and, second, to provide suggestions for further reading, encouraging readers to explore the bounty for themselves.

With this caveat in place, let me make a few generalizations, touching on debates that will reappear regularly in this book. Genocide scholars are concerned with two



basic tasks. First, they attempt to define genocide and bound it conceptually. Second, they seek to prevent genocide. This implies understanding its comparative dynamics, and generating prophylactic strategies that may be applied in emergencies.

Scholarly definitions of genocide reflect the ambiguities of the Genocide Convention and its constituent debates. They can be confusing in their numerous and often opposed variants. However, surveying most of the definitions on offer, and combining them with the Lemkin and UN framings already cited, we can group them into two broad categories, and isolate some key features and variables.

BOX 1.1 GENOCIDE: SCHOLARLY DEFINITIONS (in chronological order)

Peter Drost (1959)

"Genocide is the deliberate destruction of physical life of individual human beings by reason of their membership of any human collectivity as such."

Vahakn Dadrian (1975)

"Genocide is the successful attempt by a dominant group, vested with formal authority and/or with preponderant access to the overall resources of power, to reduce by coercion or lethal violence the number of a minority group whose ultimate extermination is held desirable and useful and whose respective vulnerability is a major factor contributing to the decision for genocide."

Irving Louis Horowitz (1976)

"[Genocide is] a structural and systematic destruction of innocent people by a state bureaucratic apparatus . . . Genocide represents a systematic effort over time to liquidate a national population, usually a minority . . . [and] functions as a fun­damental political policy to assure conformity and participation of the citizenry."

Leo Kuper(1981)

"I shall follow the definition of genocide given in the [UN] Convention. This is not to say that I agree with the definition. On the contrary, I believe a major omission to be in the exclusion of political groups from the list of groups protected. In the contemporary world, political differences are at the very least as significant a basis for massacre and annihilation as racial, national, ethnic or religious differences.



Then too, the genocides against racial, national, ethnic or religious groups are generally a consequence of, or intimately related to, political conflict. However, I do not think it helpful to create new definitions of genocide, when there is an internationally recognized definition and a Genocide Convention which might become the basis for some effective action, however limited the underlying conception. But since it would vitiate the analysis to exclude political groups, I shall refer freely ... to liquidating or exterminatory actions against them."

Jack Nusan Porter (1982)

"Genocide is the deliberate destruction, in whole or in part, by a government or its agents, of a racial, sexual, religious, tribal or political minority. It can involve not only mass murder, but also starvation, forced deportation, and political, economic and biological subjugation. Genocide involves three major components: ideology, technology, and bureaucracy/organization."

Yehuda Bauer(1984)

n.b. Bauer distinguishes between "genocide" and "holocaust":

"[Genocide is] the planned destruction, since the mid-nineteenth century, of a racial, national, or ethnic group as such, by the following means: (a) selective mass murder of elites or parts of the population; (b) elimination of national (racial, ethnic) culture and religious life with the intent of 'denationalization'; (c) enslavement, with the same intent; (d) destruction of national (racial, ethnic) economic life, with the same intent; (e) biological decimation through the kidnapping of children, or the prevention of normal family life, with the same intent. . . [Holocaust is] the planned physical annihilation, for ideological or pseudo-religious reasons, of all the members of a national, ethnic, or racial group."

John L. Thompson and Gail A. Quets (1987)

"Genocide is the extent of destruction of a social collectivity by whatever agents, with whatever intentions, by purposive actions which fall outside the recognized conventions of legitimate warfare."

Isidor Wallimann and Michael N. Dobkowski (1987)

"Genocide is the deliberate, organized destruction, in whole or in large part, of racial or ethnic groups by a government or its agents. It can involve not only mass murder,



but also forced deportation (ethnic cleansing), systematic rape, and economic and biological subjugation."

Henry Huttenbach (1988)

"Genocide is any act that puts the very existence of a group in jeopardy."

Helen Fein (1988)

"Genocide is a series of purposeful actions by a perpetrators) to destroy a collectivity through mass or selective murders of group members and suppressing the biological and social reproduction of the collectivity. This can be accomplished through the imposed proscription or restriction of reproduction of group members, increasing infant mortality, and breaking the linkage between reproduction and socialization of children in the family or group of origin. The perpetrator may represent the state of the victim, another state, or another collectivity."

Frank Chalk and Kurt Jonassohn (1990)

"Genocide is a form of one-sided mass killing in which a state or other authority intends to destroy a group, as that group and membership in it are defined by the perpetrator."

Helen Fein (1993)

"Genocide is sustained purposeful action by a perpetrator to physically destroy a collectivity directly or indirectly, through interdiction of the biological and social reproduction of group members, sustained regardless of the surrender or lack of threat offered by the victim."

Steven T. Katz (1994)

"[Genocide is] the actualization of the intent, however successfully carried out, to murder in its totality any national, ethnic, racial, religious, political, social, gender or economic group, as these groups are defined by the perpetrator, by whatever means." (n.b. Modified by Adam Jones in 2010 to read, "murder in whole or in part----")



Israel Chamy (1994)

"Genocide in the generic sense means the mass killing of substantial numbers of human beings, when not in the course of military action against the military forces of an avowed enemy, under conditions of the essential defencelessness of the victim."

Irving Louis Horowitz (1996)

"Genocide is herein defined as a structural and systematic destruction of innocent people by a state bureaucratic apparatus [emphasis in original]. . . . Genocide means the physical dismemberment and liquidation of people on large scales, an attempt by those who rule to achieve the total elimination of a subject people." (n.b. Horowitz supports "carefully distinguishing the [Jewish] Holocaust from genocide"; he also refers to "the phenomenon of mass murder, for which genocide is a synonym".)

Barbara Harff (2003)

"Genocides and politicides are the promotion, execution, and/or implied consent of sustained policies by governing elites or their agents - or, in the case of civil war, either of the contending authorities - that are intended to destroy, in whole or part, a communal, political, or politicized ethnic group."

Manus I. Midlarsky (2005)

"Genocide is understood to be the state-sponsored systematic mass murder of innocent and helpless men, women, and children denoted by a particular eth-noreligious identity, having the purpose of eradicating this group from a particular territory."

Mark Levene (2005)

"Genocide occurs when a state, perceiving the integrity of its agenda to be threatened by an aggregate population - defined by the state as an organic collectivity, or series of collectivities - seeks to remedy the situation by the systematic, en masse physical elimination of that aggregate, in toto, or until it is no longer perceived to represent a threat."



Jacques Semelin (2005)

"I will define genocide as that particular process of civilian destruction that is directed at the total eradication of a group, the criteria by which it is identified being determined by the perpetrator."

Daniel Chirot and Clark McCauley (2006)

"A genocidal mass murder is politically motivated violence that directly or indirectly kills a substantial proportion of a targeted population, combatants and noncom-batants alike, regardless of their age or gender."

Martin Shaw (2007)

"[Genocide is] a form of violent social conflict, or war, between armed power organizations that aim to destroy civilian social groups and those groups and other actors who resist this destruction."

Donald Bloxham (2009)

"[Genocide is] the physical destruction of a large portion of a group in a limited or unlimited territory with the intention of destroying that group's collective existence."


The elements of definition may be divided into "harder" and "softer" positions, paralleling the international-legal distinction between hard and soft law. According to Christopher Rudolph,

those who favor hard law in international legal regimes argue that it enhances deterrence and enforcement by signaling credible commitments, constraining self-serving auto-interpretation of rules, and maximizing compliance pull' through increased legitimacy. Those who favor soft law argue that it facilitates compromise, reduces contracting costs, and allows for learning and change in the process of institutional development.48

In genocide scholarship, harder positions are guided by concerns that "genocide" will be rendered banal or meaningless by careless use. Some argue that such slack usage will divert attention from the proclaimed uniqueness of the Holocaust. Softer positions reflect concerns that excessively rigid framings (for example, a focus on the



total physical extermination of a group) rule out too many actions that, logically and morally, demand to be included. Their proponents may also wish to see a dynamic and evolving genocide framework, rather than a static and inflexible one.

It should be noted that these basic positions do not map perfectly onto individual authors and authorities. A given definition may even alternate between harder and softer positions - as with the UN Convention, which features a decidedly "soft" framing of genocidal strategies (including non-fatal ones), but a "hard" approach when it comes to the victim groups whose destruction qualifies as genocidal. Steven Katz's 1994 definition, by contrast, features a highly inclusive framing of victimhood, but a tightly restrictive view of genocidal outcomes: these ate limited to the total physical destruction of a group. The alteration of just a few words turns it into a softer definition that happens to be my preferred one (see below).

Exploring further, the definitions address genocide's agents, victims, goals, scale, strategies, and intent.

Among agents, there is a clear focus on state and official authorities — Dadrian's "dominant group, vested with formal authority"; Horowitz's "state bureaucratic apparatus"; Porter's "government or its agents" - to cite three of the first five definitions proposed (note also Levene's exclusively state-focused 2005 definition). However, some scholars abjure the state-centric approach (e.g., Chalk and Jonassohn's "state or other authority"; Fein's [1993] "perpetrator"; Thompson and Quets's "what­ever agents"; Shaw's "armed power organizations"). The UN Convention, too, cites "constitutionally responsible rulers, public officials or private individuals" among possible agents (Article IV). In practice, most genocide scholars continue to emphasize the role of the state, while accepting that in some cases - as with settler colonialism (Chapter 3) - non-state actors may play a prominent and at times dominant role.49

Victims are routinely identified as social minorities. There is a widespread assumption that victims must be civilians or non-combatants: Charny references their "essential defencelessness," while others emphasize "one-sided mass killing" and the destruction of "innocent and helpless" victims (Midlarsky; see also Dadrian, Horowitz, Chalk and Jonassohn, and Fein [1993]). Interestingly, however, only Semelin's 2005 definition, and Shaw's 2007 one, actually use the word "civilian." The groups may be internally constituted and self-identified (that is, more closely approximating groups "as such," as required by the Genocide Convention). From other perspectives, however, target groups may and must be defined by the perpe­trators (e.g., Chalk and Jonassohn, Katz).50 The debate over political target groups is reflected in Leo Kuper's comments. Kuper grudgingly accepts the UN Convention definition, but strongly regrets the exclusion of political groups.

The goals of genocide are held to be the destruction/eradication of the victim group, whether this is defined in physical terms or to include "cultural genocide" (see below). But beyond this, the element of motive is little stressed. Lemkin squarely designated genocidal "objectives" as the "disintegration of the political and social institutions of culture, language, national feelings, religion, and the economic existence of national groups." Bauer likewise emphasizes "denationalization"; Martin Shaw, the desire to destroy a collective's (generally a minority's) social power. Dadrian and Horowitz specify that genocide targets groups "whose ultimate extermination is



held to be desirable and useful," while Horowitz stresses the state's desire "to assure [sic] conformity and participation of the citizenry."

As for scale, this ranges from Steven Katz's targeting of a victim group "in its totality" and Semelin's "total eradication," to phrasing such as "in whole or part" (Harff, the UN Convention, my modification of Katz's definition) and "in whole or in large part" (Wallimann and Dobkowski). Irving Louis Horowitz emphasizes the absolute dimension of "mass" murder "for which genocide is a synonym."''1 Some scholars maintain a respectful silence on the issue, though the element of mass or "substantial" casualties seems implicit in the cases they select and the analyses they develop.


Groups targeted for genocide and related crimes sometimes develop terms in their local languages to denote and memorialize their experiences. The following is a sample of this nomenclature.

Churban - the "Great Catastrophe" - the Yiddish term for the Holocaust/Shoah (see below) of Jews at Nazi hands.

Holocaust - Derived from the Greek word meaning a sacrificial offering completely consumed by fire. In modem usage, "holocaust" denotes great human destruction, especially by fire. It was deployed in contemporary media coverage of the Ottoman genocides of Christian minorities from 1915-22 (see Chapter 4). Today, "the Holocaust" (note: capital "H") is used for the Nazis' attempted destruction of Jews during World War II (Chapter 6; but see also Shoah, below). The phrase "Nazi H/holocaust" is also sometimes used to encompass both Jewish and non-Jewish victims of the Nazis (Box 6a). Use may be made of "holocaust" (with a lower-case "h") to describe "especially severe or destructive genocides" throughout history, as in my own framing (see note, p. 12).

Holodomor - the Ukrainian "famine-extermination" of 1932-33 at the hands of Stalin's Soviet regime (Chapter 5); "a compound word combining the root holod 'hunger' with the verbal root mor 'extinguish, exterminate'" (Lubomyr Hajda, Harvard University).

Itsembabwoko - used by Rwandans to describe the genocide of 1994 (see Chapter 9) - Kinyarwanda, "from the verb 'gutsemba' - to exterminate, to massacre, and 'ubwoko' (ethnic group, clan)" (; see their very useful resource page, "The Word 'Genocide' Translated or Defined in 80 Languages," http://www. /genocide/languages-printerfriendly.htm). Rwandans also use jenosid, an adaption of the English/French "genocide/genocide."



Lokeli - the "Overwhelming" - term used in the Longo language to describe the ravages of the Congo "rubber terror" at the turn of the twentieth century (Chapter 2).

Mec Ejer'n - the "Great Calamity" in Armenian - the Armenian genocide of 1915-17 (Chapter 4).

Naqba - in Arabic, the "Catastrophe" of the Palestinian people uprooted and dispossessed in 1947-48 by the forces of the nascent Israeli state (see Chapter 6).

Porrajmos - the "Devouring" - Romani term for the holocaust of the Roma/Sinti ("Gypsy") population of Europe under Nazi rule from 1941 to 1945 (see Box 6a).

Sayfo - "Year of the Sword" - term used by Assyrian populations to refer to the Ottoman genocide of Christian minorities during World War I (Chapter 4).

Shoah - from the Hebrew for "Catastrophe" - an alternative term for the Jewish Holocaust (Chapter 6), preferred by those who reject the religious-sacrificial connotations of "holocaust."

Sokumii - the "Unweaving" - Turkish term for the atrocity-laden expulsions of Muslims from lands liberated from the Ottoman Empire, from the 1870s to the end of the Balkan wars in 1913 (see Chapter 4).

(With thanks to Mark Levene for his suggestions; readers are invited to submit other terms for inclusion in the next edition of this book.)

Many people feel that lumping together a limited killing campaign, such as in Kosovo in 1999, with an overwhelmingly exterminatory one, such as the Nazis' attempted destruction of European Jews, cheapens the concept of "genocide." However, it is worth noting how another core concept of social science and public discourse is deployed: war. We readily use "war" to designate conflicts that kill "only" a few hundred or a few thousand people (e.g., the Soccet War of 1969 between El Salvador and Honduras; the Falklands/Malvinas War of 1982), as well as epochal descents into barbarity that kill millions or tens of millions. The gulf between minimum and maximum toll here is comparable to that between Kosovo and the Jewish Holocaust, but the use of "war" is uncontroversial. There seems to be no reason why we should not distinguish between larger and smaller, more or less exterminatory genocides in the same way.

Diverse genocidal strategies are depicted in the definitions. Lemkin referred to a "coordinated plan of different actions," and the UN Convention listed a range of such acts. For the scholars cited in our set, genocidal strategies may be direct or indirect (Fein [1993]), including "economic and biological subjugation" (Wallimann and Dobkowski). They may include killing of elites (i.e., "eliticide"); "elimination of



national (racial, ethnic) culture and religious life with the intent of 'denationa­lization'"; and "prevention of normal family life, with the same intent" (Bauer). Helen Fein's earlier definition emphasizes "breaking the linkage between reproduction and socialization of children in the family or group of origin," which carries a step further the Convention's injunction against "preventing births within the group."

Regardless of the strategy chosen, a consensus exists that genocide is "committed with intent to destroy" (UN Convention), is "structural and systematic" (Horowitz), "deliberate [and] organized" (Wallimann and Dobkowski), "sustained" (Harff), and "a series of purposeful actions" (Fein; see also Thompson and Quets). Porter and Horowitz stress the additional role of the state bureaucracy.

There is something of a consensus that group "destruction" must involve physical liquidation, generally in the form of mass killing (see, e.g., Fein [1993], Charny, Horowitz, Katz/Jones, Bloxham). In Peter Drost's 1959 view, genocide was "collective homicide and not official vandalism or violation of civil liberties. ... It is directed against the life of man and not against his material or mental goods."52 This is central to my own framing of genocide.

My definition of genocide, cited above, alters only slightly that of Steven Katz as published in his 1994 volume, The Holocaust in Historical Context, Vol. i.53 Katz stresses physical (and mass) killing as the core element of genocide, as do I. Like him, I prefer to incorporate a much wider range of targeted groups under the genocide rubric, as well as an acceptance of diverse genocidal agents and strategies. Unlike Katz, I adopt a broader rather than narrower construction of genocidal intent (see further below). I also question Katz's requirement of the actual or attempted total extermi­nation of a group, substituting a phrasing of "in whole or in part," following in this respect the UN Convention's definition.

In my original (2000) reworking of Katz's definition, reproduced in this book's first edition, my alteration read "in whole or in substantial part." This was an attempt to emphasize that large numbers (either in absolute numbers or as a proportion of the targeted group) needed to be attacked in order for the powerful term "genocide" to take precedence over, for example, "homicide" or "mass killing." However, on recon­sideration, this was to view genocide from the perspective of its elite planners and directors. What of those who kill at the grassroots, and perhaps murder "only" one or several individuals? From this perspective, there is something to commend former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's evocative declaration, in his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech in 2001, that "a genocide begins with the killing of one man -not for what he has done, but because of who he is. . . . What begins with the failure to uphold the dignity of one life, all too often ends with a calamity for entire nations."54 Moreover, legal scholars including William Schabas and Chile Eboe-Osuji have cautioned against unnecessarily restricting the application of a genocide framework to "substantial" killing. In Eboe-Osuji's eloquent analysis of the UN definition:

the theory of reading in the word "substantial" to the phrase "in part" is clearly hazardous to the preventive purpose of the Genocide Convention, while arguably not enhancing its punitive purpose. It does not enhance the punitive purpose since it will be harder to convict any single accused of the crime of genocide.



Not only will it be more difficult to show that the accused intended to destroy a substantial part of the group, but it arguably needs to be shown that the accused was in a position to destroy the substantial part of a protected group. . . . The "substantial" part theory is, worse still, hazardous to the preventive purpose. For in the throes of an unfolding apparent genocide, it will, in most cases, be difficult to ascertain the state of mind of the perpetrators and planners in order to establish whether or not they harbour joint or several intent to destroy a "substantial" part of the group. The longer the delay in establishing whether or not the perpetrators and planners harboured that intent, the longer it will take for the international community to react and intervene with the level of urgency and action required.55

Eboe-Osuji's framing allows us to bring into the ambit of "genocide" such cases as exterminations of indigenous people which, in their dimension of direct killing, are often composed of a large number of relatively small massactes, not necessarily centrally directed, and generally separated from each other spatially and temporally. A final example of its utility is the case of the lynching of African Americans, discussed in Chapter 13. If there is a case to be made that such murders were and are genocidal, then we must reckon with a campaign in which usually "only" one or two people were killed at a time.

In the cases of both colonial exterminations and lynching, however, what does appear to lift the phenomena into the realm of genocide, apart from genocidal intent (see below), is the fact that the local-level killing occurred as part of a "widespread or systematic" campaign against the groups in question - to borrow an important phrase from the legal language of crimes against humanity (see pp. 538-41). What united the killers was a racial-cultural animus and sense of superiority, in which individual actors were almost certainly and always aware that their actions were taken to bolster and "defend" the wider perpetrator group. Demonstrating such a consciousness is not a requirement for a legal finding of genocide, as it appears to be for the findings of crimes against humanity. Nonetheless, in practice, it seems that acts of murder are unlikely to be defined as genocidal - whether in law or in the wider scholarship on the subject - unless they are empirically part of a "widespread or systematic" campaign. The reader should be aware that this requirement, unspoken hereafter, guides the analysis of genocide offered in this book, and the range of cases presented to illustrate it.

The reader should keep in mind throughout, however, that there is just one international-legal definition of genocide. When I touch on legal aspects of genocide, I highlight the UN Convention definition; but I deploy it and other legal framings instrumentally, not dogmatically. I seek to convey an understanding of genocide in which international law is a vital but not a dominant consideration. In part, this is because at the level of international law, genocide is perhaps being displaced by the framing of "crimes against humanity," which is easier to prosecute and imposes much the same punishments as for genocide convictions. The result may be that "genocide," in the coming years and decades, will prove more significant as an intellectual and scholarly framework (a heuristic device, for the jargon-inclined), and as a tool of advocacy and mobilization. I return to this argument in Chapter 16.




The literature on genocide and mass violence has given rise to a host of terms derived from Raphael Lemkin's original "genocide." A sampling follows.

Classicide. Term coined by Michael Mann to refer to "the intended mass killing of entire social classes." Examples: The destruction of the "kulaks" in Stalin's USSR (Chapter 5); Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge (Chapter 7). Source: Michael Mann, The Dark Side of Democracy (Cambridge University Press, 2004).

Democide. Term invented by R.J. Rummei to encompass "the murder of any person or people by a government, including genocide, politicide, and mass murder." Examples: Rummei particularly emphasizes the "megamurders" of twentieth-century totalitarian regimes. Source: R.J. Rummei, Deaf/7 by Government (Transaction Publishers, 1997).

Ecocide. The wilful destruction of the natural environment and ecosystems, through (a) pollution and other forms of environmental degradation and (b) military efforts to undermine a population's sustainability and means of subsistence. Examples: Deforestation in the Amazon and elsewhere; US use of Agent Orange and other defoliants in the Vietnam War (see p. 76); Saddam Hussein's campaign against the Marsh Arabs in Iraq (see Figure 1.3).56Source: Jared Diamond, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed (Viking, 2004).

Eliticide. The destruction of members of the socioeconomic elite of a targeted group - political leaders, military officers, businesspeople, religious leaders, and cultural/ intellectual figures, (n.b. Sometimes spelled "elitocide.") Examples: Poland under Nazi rule (1939-45); Burundi (1972); Bosnia-Herzegovina in the 1990s. Source: "Eliticide," in Samuel Totten, Paul R. Bartrop, and Steven L. Jacobs, Dictionary of Genocide, Vol. 1 (Greenwood Press, 2007), pp. 129-30.

Ethnocide. Term originally coined by Raphael Lemkin as a synonym for genocide; subsequently employed (notably by the French ethnologist Robert Jaulin) to describe patterns of cultural genocide, i.e., the destruction of a group's cultural, linguistic, and existential underpinnings, without necessarily killing members of the group. Examples: The term has been used mostly with reference to indigenous peoples (Chapter 3, Box 5a.1), to emphasize that their "destruction" as a group involves more than simply the murder of group members. Source: Robert Jaulin, La paix blanche: Introduction a Tethnocide ("White Peace: Introduction to Ethnocide") (Seuil, 1970).

The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2007) declares (Article 8): "Indigenous peoples and individuals have the right not to be subjected to forced



Figure 1.3 Two members of the Madart community in southern Iraq, known as the "Marsh Arabs," pole along a waterway in a traditional mashoof boat. The matshes and their population were viewed as subversive redoubts by the Saddam Hussein dictatorship, which waged a campaign of "ecocide" against the Madan in the 1990s, draining the marshes and turning much of the delicate ecosystem into a desert. The recovery of the wetlands has been one of rhe few bright spots of the post-2003 period in Iraq, but only about 20,000 Madan remain of an original population of some half a million.

Source: Hassan Janali/US Army Corps of Engineers/Wikimedia Commons.

assimilation or destruction of their culture," and instructs states to "provide effective mechanisms for prevention of, and redress for. . . any action which has the aim or effect of depriving them of their integrity as distinct peoples, or of their cultural values or ethnic identities . . . "57

Femicide/Feminicide. The systematic murder of females for being female. Examples: Female infanticide; killings in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, in the 1990s and 2000s; the Ecole Polytechnique massacre in Montreal (1989). (See also Gendercide.) Source: Diana E.H. Russell and Roberta A. Harmes, eds, Femicide in Global Perspective (Teachers College Press, 2001).

Fratricide. Term coined by Michael Mann to describe the killing of factional enemies within political (notably communist) movements. Examples: Stalin's USSR (Chapter 5); Mao's China (Chapter 5); the Khmer Rouge (Chapter 7). Source: Michael Mann, The Dark Side of Democracy (Cambridge University Press, 2004).



Gendercide. The selective destruction of the male or female component of a group, or of dissident sexual minorities (e.g., homosexuals, transvestites). Term originally coined by Mary Anne Warren in 1985. Examples: Female infanticide; gender-selective massacres of males (e.g., Srebrenica, Bosnia in 1995) (see Chapter 13). Source: Adam Jones, ed., Gendercide and Genocide (Vanderbilt University Press, 2004).

Judeocide. The Nazi extermination of European Jews. Term coined by Arno Mayer to avoid the sacrificial connotations of "Holocaust" (see also Shoah). Example: The Jewish Holocaust (1941-45). Source: Arno J. Mayer, "Memory and History; On the Poverty of Remembering and Forgetting the Judeocide," Radical History Review, 56 (1993).

Linguicide. The destruction and displacement of languages. Examples: The forcible supplanting of indigenous tongues as part of a wider ethnocidal campaign (see "Ethnocide," above); Turkish bans on the Kurdish language in education and the media (repealed in 2009).58Source: Steven L. Jacobs, "Language Death and Revival after Cultural Destruction: Reflections on a Little Discussed Aspect of Genocide," Journal of Genocide Research, 7: 3 (2005).

Memoricide. The destruction "not only ... of those deemed undesirable on the territory to be 'purified,' but. . . [of] any trace that might recall their erstwhile presence (schools, religious buildings and so on)" (Jacques Semelin). Term coined by Croatian doctor and scholar Mirko D. Grmek during the siege of Sarajevo. Examples: Israel in Palestine;59 Bosnia-Herzegovina in the 1990s. Source: Edgardo Civallero, '"When Memory Turns into Ashes' . . . Memoricide During the XX Century," Information for Social Change, 25 (Summer 2007).

Omnicide. "The death of all": the blanket destruction of humanity and other life forms by weapons of mass destruction, especially nuclear weapons. Term coined by John Somerville. Examples: None as yet, fortunately. Source: John Somerville, "Nuclear 'War' is Omnicide," Peace Research, April 1982.

Politicide. Barbara Harff and Ted Gurr's term for mass killing according to political affiliation, whether actual or imputed. Examples: Harff and Gurr consider "revo­lutionary one-party states" to be the most common perpetrators of genocide. The term may also be applied to the mass killings of alleged "communists" and "subversives" in, e.g., Latin America during the 1970s and 1980s. Source: Barbara Harff, "No Lessons Learned from the Holocaust? Assessing Risks of Genocide and Political Mass Murder since 1955," American Political Science Review, 97: 1 (2003).

Poorcide. Coined by S.P. Udayakumar in 1995 to describe "the genocide of the poor" through structural poverty. Example: North-South economic relations. Source: S.P. Udayakumar, "The Futures of the Poor," Futures, 27: 3 (1995).



Urbicide. The obliteration of urban living-space as a means of destroying the viability of an urban environment, undermining the sustainability of its population and eroding the cosmopolitan values they espouse. The term was apparently coined by Marshall Berman in 1987 in reference to the blighted Bronx borough in New York; it was popularized by former Belgrade mayor Bogdan Bogdanovic and a circle of Bosnian architects to describe the Serb siege of Sarajevo (1992-95). Examples: Carthage (146 BCE); Stalingrad (1942); Sarajevo (1992-95); Gaza (2008-09). Source: Martin Coward, Urbicide: The Politics of Urban Destruction (Routledge, 2008).


Many framers of genocide have emphasized physical killing as primary in the equation — perhaps essential. For others, however — including Raphael Lemkin, and to an extent the drafters of the UN Genocide Convention - physical and mass killing is just one of a range of genocidal strategies. These observers stress the destruction of the group as a sociocultural unit, not necessarily or primarily the physical anni­hilation of its members. This question — what, precisely, is destroyed in genocide? — has sparked one of genocide studies' most fertile lines of inquiry. It is closely connected to sociologist Martin Shaw, who in his 2007 What Is Genocide? called for a greater emphasis on the social destruction of groups. For Shaw,

Because groups are social constructions, they can be neither constituted nor destroyed simply through the bodies of their individual members. Destroying groups must involve a lot more than simply killing, although killing and other physical harm are rightly considered important to it. The discussion of group "destruction" is obliged, then, to take seriously Lemkin's "large view of this concept," discarded in genocide's reduction to body counts, which centred on social destruction. . . . The aim of "destroying" social groups is not reduced to killing their individual members, but is understood as destroying groups' social power in economic, political and cultural senses. . . . [Genocide] involves mass killing but. . . is much more than mass killing^

Daniel Feierstein, and the emerging Argentine "school" of genocide studies, have likewise stressed the destruction of social power and existential identity as the essence of genocide. For Feierstein, the "connecting thread" among cases of genocide is "a technology of power based on the 'denial of others,' their physical disappearance (their bodies) and their symbolic disappearance (the memory of their existence)." The partial (physical) elimination of the victim group "is intended to have a profound effect on the survivors: it aims to suppress their identity by destroying the network of social relations that makes identity possible at all. . . The main objective of genocidal destruction is the ttansformation of the victims into 'nothing' and the survivors into 'nobodies,'" that is, their social death (see further discussion of this theme on pp. 119-20).61



The question of whether forms of desttuction short of, or other than, physical killing can in themselves constitute genocide touches directly on one of the oldest debates in genocide studies and law: over cultural genocide. We have noted that Lemkin placed great emphasis on human groups as culture carriers, and on the destruction of cultural symbols as genocidal in and of itself: "the destruction ofcultura symbols is genocide, because it implies the destruction of their function and thus menaces the existence of the social group which exists by virtue of its common culture."62 However, Lemkin felt that cultural genocide had to involve "acts of vio­lence which are qualified as criminal by most of the criminal codes":63 he was always concerned that patterns of gradual cultural assimilation, for example, should not be depicted as genocidal, or even necessarily malign.

Debates over cultural genocide were some of the most vigorous in the drafting stages of the Genocide Convention, and it was Lemkin's most personally wounding experience in that process to see his concept jettisoned. The UN Secretariat draft of 1947, prepared with Lemkin's direct input as well as that of legal experts Vespasian Pella and Henri Donnedieu de Vabres, "divided genocide into three categories, physical, biological and cultural genocide."64 But the Sixth Committee of 1948 eliminated cultural genocide, and the Convention as subsequently passed privileged physical killing first and foremost (even more so in its actual application).

Nonetheless, the Sixth Committee did grant that one aspect of the cultural genocide framework be reinserted in the Convention. It is enshrined as Article 2(e), which outlaws "forcibly transferring children of the group to anothet group," and the consequent elimination of those children as culture-bearers for the victimized group. Article 2(e) has not, by itself, sustained a conviction for genocide in inter­national law. But it has figured in an important quasi-legal process, the Australian governmental commission that issued a report on the forcible transfer of aboriginal children to white families and institutions, Bringing Them Home (1997). We will see in Chapter 3 that this report conttoversially used the language of "genocide" on the basis of Article 2(e).

Unsurprisingly, it is aboriginal and indigenous peoples, and their supporters in activist circles and academia, who have placed the greatest emphasis on cultural genocide in issuing appeals for recognition and restitution. Indigenous peoples who experienced settler colonialism, as sociologist Robert van Krieken has argued, have in common "a heartfelt and persistent sense of inflicted violence, pain and suffering at the heart of the settler-colonial project." As a result, they have evinced a "par­ticularly strong . . . support for an understanding [of genocide] which goes beyond outright killing"65 - a phenomenon explored in Buffy Sainte-Marie's masterful song, "My Country 'Tis of Thy People You're Dying" (see pp. 112-14).66

Also unsurprisingly, it was the settler-colonial regimes who were most "anxious to exclude cultural genocide" from the Genocide Convention, as Raphael Lemkin's biographer John Cooper points out. South Africa, settler-conquered and racially-ruled, of course voted to delete the clause. So too did "many members of the Commonwealth with indigenous populations," including Canada and New Zealand.67

Nonetheless, despite this early and enduring sidelining of cultural genocide from legal understandings of genocide, the concept has resurged in this setting in the 1990s - not as genocidal in itself, but as powerfully indicative of genocide. Specifically, as John



Quigley notes, "the destruction of cultural objects may provide evidence that such acts were done with intent to destroy the group."68 This was most prominent in the proceedings of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), established in 1993 as war and genocide in the Balkans were still raging. Serbian obliteration of Bosnian Muslim cultural symbols, especially mosques (see Figure 1.4) and the main library complex in Sarajevo, was entered into evidence to demonstrate Serbian intent to destroy Bosnian Muslims as a group, though individual convictions for genocide were based on the perpetrators' physical killing of group members, or the infliction of "serious bodily . . . harm" upon them.

Since the first edition of this book appeared, explorations of genocide as including the destruction of "social power" and group culture have been among the most fertile lines of investigation in genocide studies. Martin Shaw's framing of genocidal destruction resonates in the mind long after one has read it, and seems to me one of the most searching conceptualizations of the subject. Notions of cultural destruction as suggestive (or legally indicative) of genocidal intent strike me as persuasive and highly meaningful. The full-scale and semi-official destruction of cultural symbols

Figure 1.4 UN peacekeepers walk past a destroyed mosque in Ahmici, Bosnia-Herzegovina, in April 1993. Ghwddnires often attempt to obliterate a group's cultural, religious, and intellectual symbols as patt of their broader campaign of desrrucrion. For Raphael Lemkin, these constituted cultural forms of genocide, and were essential to his understanding of the phenomenon. International law, and most scholarship, has generally made mass killing definitional to the crime of genocide; but such attacks on a group's cultural integrity are considered indicative of a wider genocidal strategy, for legal purposes. Thus, the image shown here was tagged for submission as evidence to the International Criminal Tribunal for rhe Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague, Nerherlands (see Chapter 15).

Source: Courtesy International Criminal Tribunal for rhe Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), .



seems entirely relevant to the study of genocide (notably with regard to indigenous peoples), and to legal prosecutions of genocide in the contemporary period. Lower-level acts of vandalism, defacing, hate speech and graffiti, and book-burning are also significant in developing strategies of prevention and intervention (Chapter 16). They occupy a position on the "genocidal continuum" described by the anthropologist Nancy Scheper-Hughes (Chapter 11). As such, they not only point to everyday patterns of anathematization and exclusion that may otherwise be overlooked, but may serve as harbingers of serious acts of violence against targeted groups - up to and including genocidal outbreaks. As such, they should prompt serious concern in the national communities in question, and the international community as well.

The question remains, however, whether strategies of social and cultural "destruc­tion" should be considered genocidal in the absence of systematic killing, or at least widespread physical attack. I believe they should not be. I will cite two examples, situated at different points on the "genocidal continuum," to make my point.

One of the principal cultural divides in Canada is between descendants of Anglo-Saxon and Gallic civilizations in Western Europe. Quebec's "Quiet Revolution" in the 1960s radically destabilized the longstanding hegemony of the Anglos in the province. Francophone nationalism spilled over, at the end of the 1960s, into small-scale acts of terrorism and political assassination, but also gave tise to a mass political movement that brought the separatist Parti Quebecois (PQ) to power in 1976. In ensuing years, the PQ pursued a broad nationalist campaign that included seeking political separation through referenda, institutionalizing French-language require­ments in all schools and public signage (Bill 101), and requiring bilingualism in workplaces with ovet 50 employees. Gtaffiti began to appear around Montreal reading " 101 ou 401" - accept the nationalist legislation of Bill 101, or take Highway 401 from Montreal to the Anglo bastion of Toronto in next-door Ontario.

The Anglo community in Montreal and elsewhere in Quebec organized to resist these measures, and a regular feature of their discourse was the language of mass atrocity to describe the Anglophone plight in Quebec. PQ cabinet minister Camille Laurin, depicted as "the father of Bill 101," was accused of inflicting "linguistic genocide" on the English minority.69 "Words like 'cultural re-engineering' and 'akin to ethnic cleansing' were printed" at the time,70 and they remain popular to the present day.71

I think most readers will agree that such rhetoric was and is overheated. Yet the result of more than four decades of francophone ascendancy in Quebec has indeed been the real displacement of the Anglo community. Hundreds of thousands of Anglos chose Highway 401 ovet Bill 101. The native English-speaking population of Quebec declined precipitously, from 13.8 percent in 1951 to 8.2 percent in 2006.72 French is now a requirement of most middle- and upper-level positions in society, politics, and the economy. Proposed measures to ban even the apostrophe in the name of the department store "Eaton's" were overturned in court battles; in 1993, the UN's Human Rights Committee, ruling on a case brought by representatives of Quebec's English minority, found the province's sign laws in contravention of international rights treaties. "A State may choose one or more official languages," declared the UNHCR, "but it may not exclude outside the spheres of public life, the freedom to express oneself in a certain language."73 Even in the wake of those decisions, French



text must be at least twice as large as English on all commercial signage, and street signs are French-only outside spheres of federal jurisdiction.74

So has Anglo power been "destroyed" in Quebec, in whole or in substantial part? Arguably, yes. But as with similar affirmative-action measures in countries like Malaysia and (for a while) Lebanon, Bill 101 seems to have achieved a reconfiguration of power relations that is largely acceptable to the Anglos that remain.75 Again, the genocide framing seems unhelpful and outsized, because whatever measures of positive discrimination/affirmative action have been instituted to benefit the francophone majority, and redress longstanding disadvantages vis-a-vis the Anglos, they have not spilled over into systematic violence, severe persecution, and murderous rampages against the targeted minority.

Consider a second case. In August 1972, the Ugandan dictator Idi Amin - an incarnation of evil in the 1970s - issued a stunning order. All Ugandan citizens of Asian (overwhelmingly Indian) descent were to be stripped of their property and forced either to leave the country within 90 days, or to accept "banishment to remote and arid areas, where they could occupy themselves as farmers" - a familiar motif in mass atrocity campaigns, forcing a commercially-identified subgroup to engage in "productive" agricultutal labour. Despite international protest, noted Leo Kupet in his seminal 1981 volume, "the expulsions took their uninhibited course. The victims were brutally treated, a few were killed, and they were systematically stripped of their possessions, which were distributed to, or seized as booty by, soldiers and other supporters of the regime."76

Here we have an instance of persecution, dispossession, forcible uprooting, and expulsion. The result was the total destruction of the Indian-descended community of Uganda as a social entity, and the internal displacement or forced exile of the vast majority of its members (about 75,000 people). This would surely meet Shaw's requirement that the essence of the genocidal entetprise be sought in its attempted destruction of a group's social power. Yet Shaw does not mention Uganda's Indians in his book. As for Kuper's early analysis, it is not clear to me that he considers the targeting of the Indians to be genocidal as such - he certainly places more emphasis on "the slaughter . . . [of] almost every conceivable category of victim" in Amin's wider political and ethnic liquidations, nearly all of which occurred after the Indian expulsions.77 Since Kuper's book appeared, I have not seen the Ugandan Indians explored as a case of genocide in the comparative literature — nor do I feel the need to correct a perceived oversight in this regard. The reason for the widespread silence seems to be that Ugandan Indians were largely preserved from the large-scale slaughter that Amin meted out to other political and ethnic opponents. The substantial undermining or even outright destruction of a group's social, economic, political, and cultural power and presence does not seem, by itself, to warrant the "genocide" label, if it is not accompanied by mass killing. To reiterate, though, where such systematic forms of cultural targeting and persecution can be isolated, their significance is considerable for the interpretation, prosecution, and prevention of genocide.




Huge controversy has attended the Genocide Convention's exclusion of all but four human categories — national, ethnic, racial, and religious groups — from the convention's list of protected groups. We are also, as noted, increasingly conscious that the alleged stability and integrity of these groups is very much open to question — not least because group identity is often imposed (even imagined) by perpetrators rather than claimed by targets.

Less recognized is the fact that these identities, along with the "big three" missing from the Genocide Convention (political, social, and gender groups), never exist in isolation. Genocidal targeting is always the result of a blurring and blending of identities. As psychologist David Moshman has written, "All genocides involve multiple motives, complex interactions of causal factors, and groups that can be divided and defined in multiple ways. ... A purist definition of genocide requiring unmixed motives, singular causes, and discrete groups would render the concept irrelevant to the actual social worlds of human beings."78

This is why victims may be simultaneously viewed as (for example) representatives of a dangerous ethnicity, an insurgent or rapacious social class, a threatening political entity, and a malevolent gender group - in fact, with that particular recipe, we have just sketched the outline of a great many modern genocides. It is also why the "other -cides" of genocide studies, rather than being frivolous, are vital to identifying the interwoven threads of identity, whether claimed or imputed. Hence, "a given campaign of mass killing can easily be labeled as genocidal, democidal, politicidal, eliticidal, and gendercidal all at once - with each of these designations representing an analytical cut that exposes one aspect of the campaign and serves to buttress comparative studies of a particular 'cide.'"79

The "hard" test for these assertions is the genocide that many still see as having been impelled by perhaps the fiercest racial-ethnic-biological animus imaginable: the Jewish Holocaust (Chapter 6). In his detailed exploration of Nazi anti-semitic propaganda, TheJewish Enemy, historian Jeffrey Herf delivered a surprising verdict: "that the radical anti-Semitic ideology that justified and accompanied the mass murder of European Jewry was first and foremost a paranoid political, rather than biological, conviction and narrative." What was vital was not "the way Jews were said to look" but what "Hitler and his associates . . . believed 'international Jewry did . . ."80 This was the foundation of the mixed political-ethnic construction of "the threatening Jewish-Bolshevik danger," in the language of a 1943 press report.81 "Judeo-Bolshevism" was the international communist conspiracy allegedly headed by Jews in order to advance their project of political/economic/ethnic-racial/religious/sexual conquest and domination.82 A Nazi propaganda pamphlet from 1941 described "Bolshevism" - "this system of chaos, extermination and terror" - as "conceived and led by Jews":

Through subversion and propaganda, world Jewry attempts to gather the uprooted and racially inferior elements of all peoples together in order to lead an exter­mination battle \Vernichtungskampf\ against everything positive, against native customs and the nation, against religion and culture, against order and morals. The goal is the introduction of chaos through world revolution and the establishment of a Jewish state under Jewish leadership.83



Figure 1.5 "Nazi antisemitic propaganda frequently linked Jews to the feats of their German and foreign audiences. This [1943] posrer, displayed in the German-occupied Sovier Union ro foment both anti-Soviet and antisemitic fervor, uses the stereotype of the bloodthirsty Jewish Bolshevik commissar' to associate 'the Jew' with the murder of more than 9,000 Soviet citizens in Vinnytsia, Ukraine, an atrocity committed by Stalin's secret police in 1937—38. German forces uncovered the massacre in May 1943." The idenriries that genocidaires impute to their victims - here, a mix of racial/ethnic, political, and gender ones — overlap and interpenetrate in complex ways (the Cyrillic caption reads "Vinnytsia." See also Figure 13.10, p. 488).

Source: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Washington, DC.



In a single sentence ("Through subversion . . . "), the Judeo-Bolshevik is depicted as a "racial," "nation[al]," "religi[ous]" and "cultur[aEj" enemy, seeking to erode German "customs," social "order," and "morals" for good measure. Add the identi­fication of the Jew as a military enemy - as the Nazi wartime adage had it, "Wherever there is [a] partisan, there is a Jew, and wherever there is a Jew, there is a partisan"84 - and one has the essential ingredients of the ideological pastiche and mortal terror that fuelled the architects and perpetratots of the Holocaust.85 According to Martin Shaw,

SS Einsatzgruppen reports in the wake of the invasion of the Soviet Union identified no fewer than forty-four overlapping "target groups" . . . When an Einsatzgruppen killer pulled his trigger, could victims always tell — or care — whether they were killed as Slavs, as communists or as Jews, even if the perpetrators later produced grisly reports claiming to itemize the numbers of victims in different categories? Can we, historians and sociologists many decades later, make these distinctions with certainty?86


In Chaptet 6, we will explore how the historiography of the Holocaust evolved from an "intentionalist" position - depicting the attempted extetmination of European Jews as a policy intended from the very outset of the Nazi movement - to a more "functionalist" perspective, emphasizing contingency and situational context, and finally to a synthesis of the two perspectives. Broadly speaking, the Nazi agenda underwent a cumulative radicalization. An extetminatory agenda evolved, shaped (though in no way mechanistically determined) by forces beyond the control of the principal perpetrators. Discriminatory legislation gave way to outright persecution, forced migration, ghettoization, enslavement, massacre, and finally industrialized mass killing. In the phrase coined by Karl A. Schleunes, it was a "twisted road to Auschwitz" - and Schleunes can take credit for first supplying an "interpretation of the Final Solution as a product of unplanned evolution rathet than premeditated 'grand design,'" in historian Christopher Browning's words.87

At each stage, objective factors — notably the bureaucratic challenges of realizing and administering the master-race fantasy — influenced outcomes chosen by at least somewhat rational perpetrators. Nonetheless, hateful ideologies and persecutory programs were evident from the outset, and throughout, so that a clear line of connection can be drawn from the earliest Nazi activity aftet World War One, and the exterminatory outburst against Jews and others that we know as the Holocaust.

Genocide studies has displayed a similar intellectual trajectory. In tandem with an increased recognition of multiple and overlapping identities, monocausal models of carefully-planned and long-nurtured mass slaughters have given way to a recog­nition that genocide, in Mark Levene's words, "is not necessarily preordained but will come out of a concatenation or matrix of ingredients and contingencies. . . only crystallising in specific and usually quite extraordinary circumstances of acute state



and societal crisis." In the colonial collision with indigenous peoples worldwide, for example, Levene sees "the same scenario . . . played out time and time again":

Whether on coastal shore, distant prairie or desert interior, both North America and Australia witnessed essentially the same native-settler dynamic: first contact in which there were tentative and strained efforts at co-existence; mounting native resistance to increasing and insupportable settler depredations; a redoubled settler determination to seize absolute territorial control; an ensuing crisis leading to a genocidal explosion; finally an aftermath in which any surviving . . . natives either retreat elsewhere or are allowed to exist as subjugated dependants on the margins of the now established and victorious white society.88

Historian Benjamin Madley has emphasized that indigenous resistance to conquest and exploitation often led to colonial genocides against native peoples.89 Levene has likewise noted that native resistance can create "a dynamic in which perpetrator-state violence leads to tenacious people resistance, provoking in turn a ratcheting up of the perpetrator's response" and a genocidal consequence.90 Dirk Moses, another leading scholar of colonial and imperial genocides, agrees: "Resistance leads to reprisals and countetinsurgency that can be genocidal when they are designed to ensure that never again would such resistance occur."91 Nor is the pattern limited to colonial cases. Examining the Rwandan genocide in his 2006 book The Order of Genocide, political scientist Scott Straus argued that far from a "meticulously planned" extermination,

a dynamic of escalation was critical to the hardliners' choice of genocide. The more the hardliners felt that they were losing power and the more they felt that their armed enemy was not playing by the rules, the more the hardliners radicalized. After the president [Juvenal Habyarimana] was assassinated [on April 6,1994] and the [RPF] rebels began advancing, the hardliners let loose. They chose genocide as an extreme, vengeful, and desperate strategy to win a war that they were losing. Events and contingency mattered.92


Most scholars and legal theorists agree that intent defines genocide.93 A "special intent" must be shown to target members of a particular group "as such." Leaving aside the question of what "as such" can mean when genocide always targets its victims on the basis of multiple identities (see above), what defines special intent for legal purposes?

We can begin by distinguishing intent from motive. According to Gellately and Kiernan, in criminal law, including international criminal law, the specific motive is irrelevant. Prosecutors need only to prove that the criminal act was intentional, not accidental.94 As legal scholar John Quigley notes,

In prosecutions tor genocide, tribunals have not required proof of a motive .... The personal motive of the perpetrator of the crime of genocide may be, for



example, to obtain personal economic benefits, or political advantage or some form of power. The existence of a personal motive does not preclude the perpetrator from also having the specific intent to commit genocide.95

A holistic understanding of "special intent" to commit genocide combines specific intent, on the one hand, with general intent, on the other. Specific intent implies a direct and manifest connection between act and outcome: for example, executing in cold blood a member of a designated group. For some scholars, a charge of genocide should not be considered if a specific intent cannot be demonstrated; many would consider it probative of a kind of "first-degree" genocide.96

With general intent, the act and its genocidal consequences may be relatively widely separated in geographical and temporal terms. This "includes cases in which the perpetrators did not intend to harm others but should have realized or known that the behavior made the hatm likely." Fot example, "forcibly removing other members to reservations and then withholding food and medicine, and kidnapping many of their children to raise as slaves outside of the group's culture clearly results in the destruction of that group of people, even if that result is neither intended nor desired."97

Note again that motive is not central in the equation. When colonists removed indigenous populations from their historic territories to barren reservations, their primary motive was to gain possession of land and resources, not to exterminate natives for the simple satisfaction of destroying an "execrable race." Nevertheless, if the coveting of native lands led to the removal of indigenous populations to territories incapable of sustaining life; if this unsustainability was "reasonably foreseeable," and confirmed when the deported population started to die en massed and if the policies were not promptly reversed or ameliorated, then genocidal intent may still be said to have existed - albeit in a general form.99

Recent legislation and case-law have incorporated this understanding of general as well as specific intent. The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (1998), for instance, declares that "a person has intent where ... in relation to conduct, that person means to cause that consequence or is aware that it will occur in the ordinary course of events."100Likewise, the International Criminal Tribunal lor Rwanda stated in its historic Akayesu judgment (1998) that "the offender is culpable because he knew or should have known that the act committed would destroy, in whole or in part, a group."101 As John Quigley points out, the trial chamber in this case decided "that the intent required for liability, even as a principal, can be satisfied by less than purpose"102 — that is, by a general intent, rather than a specific one.

Establishing the mens rea (mental element) of genocidal intent poses significant challenges. How can one know what is in the perpetrator's mind? In the absence of a formal confession, intent must be inferred. In the Akayesu case of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, for example,

the Trial Chamber submitted that genocidal intent could be inferred from a number of indicators, such as a general range of criminal acts systematically targeting the same group, committed by the same perpetrator or others, the scale



and nature of these acts, and the fact that victims were systematically and deliberately singled out because of their membership of a group, in contrast to non-group members.103


With the varied academic definitions of genocide, and the ambiguities surrounding both the Genocide Convention and historical interpretation, it is not surprising that nearly every posited case of genocide will be discounted by someone else. Even the "classic" genocides of the twentieth century have found their systematic minimizers and deniers (see Chapter 14). With this in mind, let us consider a few controversial events and human institutions. What can the debate over the applicability of a genocide framework in these cases tell us about definitions of genocide, the ideas and interests that underlie those definitions, and the evolution in thinking about genocide? I will offer my own views in each case. Readers are also encouraged to consult the discussion of "famine crimes" in Chapters 2 and 5, and of genocide against political groups in Chapter 5 on Stalin's USSR.

Atlantic slavery - and after

Slavery is pervasive in human societies throughout history. Arguably in no context, however, did it result in such massive mortality as with Atlantic slavery between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries.104

A reasonable estimate of the deaths caused by this institution is fifteen to twenty million people - by any standard, a major human cataclysm.105 However, Atlantic slavery is rarely included in analyses or anthologies of genocide. A notable exception - Seymour Drescher's chapter in Is the Holocaust Unique? - avoids the "genocide" label, and stresses the differences between slavety and the Holocaust.106 (Admittedly, these are not few.) More recently, the human rights scholar Michael Ignatieff has cited slavery-as-genocide arguments as a leading example of the tendency to "banalize" the genocide framework:

Thus slavery is called genocide, when - whatever else it was - it was a system to exploit the living rather than to exterminate them. . . . Genocide has no meaning unless the crime can be connected to a clear intention to exterminate a human group in whole or in part. Something more than rhetorical exaggeration for effect is at stake here. Calling every abuse or crime a genocide makes it steadily more difficult to touse people to action when a genuine genocide is taking place.107

Ignatieff's argument - that it was in slaveowners' interest to keep slaves alive, not exterminate them - is probably the most common argument against slavery-as-genocide. Othets point to the ubiquity of slavery through time; the large-scale collaboration of African chiefs and entrepreneurs in corraling Africans for slavery; and the supposedly cheery results of slavery for slaves' descendants, at least in North



Figure 1.6 The deaths of millions of enslaved Africans — before, during, and after the dreaded "Middle Passage" to the Americas and Caribbean — were accompanied on the plantations by a culture of terror and violence, aimed at keeping slaves quiescent and in a state of "social death." Peter, a whipped slave in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, displayed his scars in April 1863. "Overseer Arrayou Carrier whipped me," Peter rold the photographer. "I was two months in bed sore from the whipping."

Source: US National Archives and Records Administration/Wikimedia Commons.

America. Even some African-American commentators have celebrated their "deliv­erance" from strife-torn Africa to lands of opportunity in America.108

My own view is that these arguments are mostly sophistry, serving to deflect responsibility for one of history's greatest crimes. To call Atlantic slavery genocide is not to claim that "every abuse or crime" is genocide, as Ignatieff asserts; nor is it even to designate all slavery as genocidal. Rather, it seems to me an appropriate response to particular slavery institutions that inflicted "incalculable demographic and social losses" on West African societies,109 as well as meeting every other requirement of the UN Genocide Convention's definition.110 Moreover, the killing and destruction were intentional, whatever the incentives to pteserve survivors of the Atlantic passage for labor exploitation. To revisit the issue of intent already touched on: If an institution is deliberately maintained and expanded by discernible agents, though all are aware of the hecatombs of casualties it is inflicting on a definable human group, then why should this not qualify as genocide?



The aftermath of Atlantic slavery — reverberating through African-American societies to the present - also produced one of the very first petitions ever presented to the United Nations on the subject of genocide. In December 1951, "only 11 months after the Genocide Convention went into effect," a petition titled We Charge Genocide was submitted by African-American activists, headed by the lawyer and communist activist William L. Patterson, and the great actor, scholar, and singer Paul Robeson. Nearly sixty years later, the document must be regarded as one of the central, and earliest, documents of the US civil rights era. It is also nuanced in its reading of the Genocide Convention, claiming to have "scrupulously kept within the purview" of the new law. It specifies Article 11(c) ("deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life . . ."), that is indirect/structural genocide, as a foundational aspect of the claim. It also "pray[s] for the most careful reading of this material by those who have always regarded genocide as a term to be used only where the acts of terror evinced an intent to destroy a whole nation," atguing instead for a recognition that the Convention prohibits the selective/partial destruction of a group, as well as its wholesale extermination.1'1


To the General Assembly of the United Nations:

The responsibility of being the first in history to charge the government of the United States of America with the crime of genocide is not one your petitioners take lightly. . . . But if the responsibility of your petitioners is great, it is dwarfed by the respon­sibility of those guilty of the crime we charge. Seldom in human annals has so iniquitous a conspiracy been so gilded with the trappings of respectability. Seldom has mass murder on the score of "race" been so sanctified by law, so justified by those who demand free elections abroad even as they kill their fellow citizens who demand free elections at home. Never have so many individuals been so ruthlessly destroyed amid so many tributes to the sacredness of the individual. The distinctive trait of "' . this genocide is a cant that mouths aphorisms of Anglo- ;.■ ... '' J.i.i.--..v

Saxon jurisprudence even as it kills. . . . .":

Our evidence concerns the thousands of Negroes who over the years have been beaten to death on chain

Ilk* <tU >-f r.ipH*,!

Figure 1.7 We Charge Genocide, the text of one of the first i ■..< v '

genocide declarations ever issued - in 1951, against the US "Jty hi _ if A> -

government for its policies toward "the Negro people." This f' *.-''*,,

is the cover of the 1970 International Publishers edition. * -, -*i

Source: International Publishers/. / t



gangs and in the back rooms of sheriff's offices, in the cells of county jails, in precinct police stations and on city streets, who have been framed and murdered by sham legal forms and by a legal bureaucracy. It concerns those Negroes who have been killed, allegedly for failure to say "sir" or tip their hats or move aside quickly enough, or, more often, on trumped up charges of "rape," but in reality for trying to vote or otherwise demanding the legal and inalienable rights and privileges of United States citizenship formally guaranteed them by the Constitution of the United States, rights denied them on the basis of "race," in violation of the Constitution of the United States, the United Nations Charter and the Genocide Convention.

We shall offer proof of economic genocide, or in the words of the Convention, proof of "deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its destruction in whole or in part." We shall prove that such conditions so swell the infant and maternal death rate and the death rate from disease, that the American Negro is deprived, when compared with the remainder of the population of the United States, of eight years of life on the average. . . .

We have proved "killing members of the group" [Article 11(a) of the UN Genocide Convention] - but the case after case after case cited does nothing to assuage the helplessness of the innocent Negro trapped at this instant by police in a cell which will be the scene of his death. We have shown "mental and bodily harm" in violation of Article ll[(b)] of the Genocide Convention but this proof can barely indicate the life-long terror of thousands on thousands of Negroes forced to live under the menace of official violence, mob law and the Ku Klux Klan.112 We have tried to reveal something of the deliberate infliction "on the group of conditions which bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part" [Article ll(c)] - but this cannot convey the hopeless despair of those forced by law to live in conditions of disease and poverty because of race, of birth, of color. We have shown incitements to commit genocide, shown that a conspiracy exists to commit it, and now we can only add that an entire people, not only unprotected by their government but the object of government-inspired violence, reach forth their hands to the General Assembly in appeal. Three hundred years is a long time to wait. And now we ask that world opinion, that the conscience of mankind as symbolized by the General Assembly of the United Nations, turn not a deaf ear to our entreaty.

From We Charge Genocide: The Historic Petition to the United Nations for Relief from a Crime of the United States Government against the Negro People (New York: International Publishers, 1970 [originally issued

in December 1951]), pp. 4-5, 195-96.

Among the atrocities, abuses, and discrimination detailed in We Charge Genocide (see Box 1.4) was the murder of "10,000 Negroes ... on the basis of'face,'"113 many of them the widespread "vigilante" lynchings of the post-slavery period. These atrocities were inflicted with the tacit and often enthusiastic approval of local com­



munities and authorities, as I explore in further detail in Chapter 13 (pp. 482-87). Nevertheless, the United Nations General Assembly, still dominated by the US at that early stage of the UN's evolution, refused to accept the petition.114

Area bombing and nuclear warfare

Controversy has swirled around the morality both of the area bombing of German and Japanese cities by British and US air forces, and the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945. The key issue in both cases is at what point legitimate military action becomes genocide. The line is difficult to draw, in part due to the intimate relationship between war and genocide, discussed in detail in Chapter 2. In the case of "area" bombing (in which cities were blanketed with high explosives), the debate centers on the military utility and morality of the policy. "The effects [themselves] are clear and undisputed," according to Markusen and Kopf: "By the end of the war in 1945, every large and medium-sized German city, as well as many smaller ones had been destroyed or badly damaged by the Allied strategic-bombing offensive. . . . Estimates of deaths range from about 300,000 to 600,000 .... Most of the civilian victims were women, infants, and elderly people."115

Similar destruction was inflicted on Japan, where some 900,000 civilians died in all. A single night's fire-bombing of Tokyo (March 9-10, 1945) killed 90,000 to

Figure 1.8 The almost unimaginable devastation inflicted on German and Japanese cities in the Allied area bombing campaigns of 1943-45 led some observers to allege that a "just war" spilled over into genocide. This photo shows the heatt of the historic German city of Dresden, destroyed by a firestorm generared by US and British incendiary bombing on February 13-15, 1945. An estimated 25,000-35,000 civilians were killed.

Source: Deutsche Fotothek/Wikimedia Commons.

Figure 1.9 A destroyed temple amidst the ruins of Nagasaki, Japan, following the atomic bombing of August 9, 1945, three days after Hiroshima. An estimated 70,000 people were killed at Nagasaki, either in the explosion ot from burns and radiation sickness afterward. The "conventional" Allied bombing of Tokyo on March 9—10, 1945 killed even more.

Source: Lynn P. Walker, Jr./Wikimedia Commons.



100,000 people, more than in the atomic bombing of Nagasaki.116 Was this militarily necessary, or at least defensible? Did it shorten the war, and thereby save the lives of large numbers of Allied soldiers? Should daylight bombing have been pursued, even though it was of dubious efficacy and led to the deaths of more Allied pilots? Or was the bombing ««defensible, killing more civilians than military requirements could justify?

From a genocide-studies perspective, at issue is whether civilian populations were targeted (1) outside the boundaries of "legitimate" warfare, and (2) on the basis of their ethnic or national identity. Answers have differed, with Leo Kuper arguing that area and atomic bombing were genocidal.117 After a nuanced consideration of the matter, Eric Markusen and David Kopf agreed.118 Others rejected the genocide frame­work. The Nuremberg prosecutor Telford Taylor argued that the area bombings "were certainly not 'genocides' within the meaning of the Convention . . . Berlin, London and Tokyo were not bombed because their inhabitants were German, English or Japanese, but because they were enemy strongholds. Accordingly, the killing ceased when the war ended and there was no longer any enemy."119

The genocide framing is perhaps more persuasively applied in the Japanese case, given the racist propaganda that pervaded the Pacific War, including a common depiction of Japanese as apes and vermin (see Chapter 2). As well, the bombing reached a crescendo when Japan was arguably prostrate before Allied air power -though this would also apply to the destruction of Dresden in Germany, when total Allied victory was already assured. At times in both the German and Japanese cases, but particularly in the latter, the destruction caused by the "thousand-bomber" raids and similar assaults appeats to have been inflicted as much to test what was technically and logistically possible as to pursue a coherent military objective.

Fewer ambiguities attach to the atomic bombings of Japan at war's end. Both of the Sup feme Allied Commanders, General Dwight D. Eisenhower and General Douglas MacArthur, considered them to be "completely unnecessary."120 Other options were also available to the US plannefs - including a softening of the demand for unconditional surrender, and demonstration bombings away from major popu­lation centers. The destruction of Nagasaki, in particular, seemed highly gratuitous, since the power of atomic weaponry was already evident, and the Japanese govern­ment was in crisis talks on surrender.121

UN sanctions against Iraq

Following Saddam Hussein's invasion and occupation of Kuwait in August 1990, the United Nations, spearheaded by the US and Great Britain, imposed sweeping economic sanctions on Iraq. These lasted beyond the 1991 Gulf War and, with modifications, were maintained through to the invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003.

It soon became evident that the sanctions were exacting an enormous human toll on Iraqis, particularly children. According to a "criminal complaint" filed by former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark before a people's tribunal in Madrid, the policies were nothing short of genocidal:



The United States and its officials [,] aided and abetted by others [,] engaged in a continuing pattern of conduct... to impose, maintain and enforce extreme economic sanctions and a strict military blockade on the people of Iraq for the purpose of injuring the entire population, killing its weakest members, infants, children, the elderly and the chronically ill, by depriving them of medicines, drinking water, food, and other essentials.122

The resulting debate has sparked controversy and some rancor among genocide scholars. A majority rejects the idea that genocide can be inflicted by "indirect" means such as sanctions, or assigns the bulk of responsibility for Iraqi suffering to the corrupt and dictatorial regime of Saddam Hussein. Such arguments also emphasize the modifications to the sanctions regime in the 1990s, notably the introduction of an "Oil-for-Food" arrangement by which limited food and humanitarian purchases could be made with Iraqi oil revenues under UN oversight.123

Those, including myself, who hold that the Iraq sanctions did constitute genocide acknowledge the despotic nature of the Iraqi regime (see, e.g., Box 4a). However, they point to the human damage linked by many impartial observers to the sanctions, and the awareness of that damage among key leadership figures. In legal scholar John Quigley's estimation, "the deaths being caused by the sanctions were widely known, even as the UN Security Council repeatedly voted to extend sanctions."124 Critics also cite the notorious comments of then-US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in May 1996. Asked about statistics indicating 500,000 child deaths from sanctions, Albright said: "I think this is a very hard choice. But the price — we think the price is worth it."125 Is this "infanticide masquerading as policy," as US Congressman David Bonior alleged?126

The reticence about the effects of sanctions may reflect the difficulty that many Western observers have in acknowledging Western-inflicted genocides. In 1998 the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, Denis Halliday- who witnessed the impact of sanctions at first hand - resigned in protest over their allegedly genocidal character. "I was made to feel by some that I had crossed an invisible line of impropriety," he stated in the following year. "Since then I have observed that the term 'genocide' offends many in our Western media and establishment circles when it is used to describe the killing of others for which we are responsible, such as in Iraq."127

9/11: Terrorism as genocide?

The attacks launched on New York and Washington on the morning of September 11, 2001 constituted the worst tetrorist attack in history.128 Perhaps never outside wartime and natural disasters have so many people been killed virtually at once. But were the attacks, apparently carried out by agents of Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda movement, more than terroristic? Did they in fact constitute genocidal massacres, by Leo Kuper's definition?129

In the aftermath of September 11, this question was debated on the H-Genocide academic list. Citing the UN Convention, Peter Ronayne wrote: "[It] seems at least on the surface that the argument could be made that Osama bin Laden and his ilk



Figure 1.10 Sunlight stteams through the still-smoldering ruins of the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan on Septembet 15, 2001, four days after al-Qaeda terrorist attacks on New Yotk and Washington in which nearly three thousand people were killed, overwhelmingly civilians. Was ir an act of genocide?

Source: Andrea Booher/FEMA Photo Library/Wikimedia Commons.

are intent on destroying, in whole or in part, a national group, and they're more than willing to kill members of the group." Robert Cribb, an Indonesia specialist, differed. "Surely the attacks were terrorist, rather than genocidal. At least 20% of the victims were not American, and it seems ptetty likely that the desttuction of human life was not for its own sake . . . but to cause terror and anguish amongst a much broader population, which it has done very effectively."130

Expanding on Ronayne's reasoning, if we limit ourselves to the UN Convention framing, the 9/11 attacks resulted in "killing members of the group," intentionally and (in most cases) "as such." Also, the "destruction[,] . . . terror and anguish" they inflicted caused serious "bodily [and] mental harm to members" of the group. Moreover, it seems likely that the ferocity of the attack was limited only by the means available to the attackers (passenger jets used as missiles). Were nuclear bombs at hand, one suspects that they would be used against civilian populations in the US, and perhaps elsewhere. This brings us close to the Convention requirement that genocidal acts be "committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national . . . group" (i.e., US Americans).

There was thus, at least, a palpable genocidal impetus and intent in 9/11 -one that could yet result in fully-fledged genocide. Only the coming decades will



enable us to place the attacks in proper perspective: to decide whether they stand as isolated and discrete events and campaigns, or as opening salvos in a systematic campaign of genocide. Daniel Jonah Goldhagen goes too far in describing "Political Islam" as "currently the one expressly, publicly, and unabashedly genocidal major political movement." It is not a unified movement, nor are its adherents uniformly violent in their programs and actions, as al-Qaeda is. But certain strands of political Islam do evince "eliminationist civilizations' hallmark features: tyrannical regimes, eliminationist-oriented leaders, transformative eschatological visions, populaces brimming with eliminationist beliefs and passions, a sense of impunity, and elimi-nationism at the center of its normal political repertoire and existing practice."131

Structural and institutional violence

In the 1960s, peace researchers such as Johan Galtung began exploring the phe­nomenon of "structural violence": destructive relations embedded in social and economic systems. Some commentators argue that certain forms of structural and institutional violence are genocidal, "deliberately inflicting on [a designated] group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part," in the language of the UN Convention. For example, the Indian scholar and activist Vandana Shiva has described "the globalization of food and agriculture systems" under neoliberal trade regimes as "equivalent to the ethnic cleansing of the poor, the peasantry, and small farmers of the Third World. . . . Globalization of trade in agriculture implies genocide."132 Jean Ziegler, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, stated in October 2005: "Every child who dies of hunger in today's world is the victim of assassination," and referred to the daily death by starvation of 100,000 people as a "massacre of human beings through malnutrition."133 My own work on gender and genocide (see Chapter 13) explores "gendercidal institutions" such as female infanticide and even maternal mortality, suggesting that they are forms of gender-selective mass killing, hence genocidal.

Much of structural violence is diffuse, part of the "background" of human rela­tions. It is accordingly difficult to ascribe clear agency to phenomena such as racism, sexism, and other forms of discrimination. International relations scholar Kal Holsti rejects global-systemic visions of structural violence, like Galtung's, as "just too fuzzy," and evincing a tendency to "place all blame for the ills of the Third World on the first one." In Holsti's view, this overlooks the essential role of many Third World leaders and elites in the suffering and violence experienced by their populations. "It also fails to account for many former Third World countries that today have standards of living and welfare higher than those found in many 'industrial' countries."134

These points are well taken. Nonetheless, in my opinion, genocide studies should move to incorporate an understanding of structural and institutional violence as genocidal mechanisms. If our overriding concern is to prevent avoidable death and suffering, how can we shut our eyes to "the Holocaust of Neglect" that malnutrition, ill-health, and structural discrimination impose upon huge swathes of humanity?135 Ate we not in danger of "catching the small fry and letting the big fish loose," as Galtung put it?136



Moreover, when it comes to human institutions, it is not necessarily the case that responsibility and agency are impossible to establish. Consider the neoliberal economic policies and institutions that shape the destinies of much of the world's poor. Economist Jeffrey Sachs played a key role in designing the "structural adjust­ment" measures imposed by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) around the Third World and former Soviet bloc. He later turned against such prescriptions, commenting in 2002 that they had "squeezed [targeted] countries to the point where their health systems are absolutely unable to function. Education systems are broken down, and there's a lot of death associated with the collapse of public health and the lack of access to medicine."1'*7In such cases, as Holsti has pointed out, "distinct agents with distinct policies and identifiable consequences" may be dis­cerned, and moral and legal responsibility may likewise be imputed.138

In a recent essay on the structural genocide question, I argue that a claim of genocide related to structural and institutional forms of violations was most sustain­able where evidence of debility and death as a result of the event or phenomenon in question is strong; where the causal chain is direct rather than indirect, and agency centralized and individualized rather than decentralized or diffuse; where actors' awareness of the impact of their policies is high; and where a meaningful measure of voluntary agency139 among victims is lacking. I argue in the same essay that a discourse of genocide and structural/institution violence "deserves to be taken seriously, and moved closer to the mainstream of genocide studies."140 Among other things, as historian Norbert Finzsch has suggested, it could serve as a useful corrective to the fact that "genocides in modern history tend to be perceived as chronologically limited occurrences that punctuate time, rather than as repetitive and enduring processes.


This question may provoke a collective intake of breath.142 Examining ourselves honestly, though, most people have probably experienced at least a twinge of sympathy with those who commit acts that some people consider genocidal. Others have gone much further, to outright celebration of genocide (see, e.g., Chapter 3). Is any of this justifiable, morally or legally?

In one sense, genocide clearly is justified — that is, people often seek to justify it. Perhaps the most common strategy of exculpation and celebration is a utilitarian one, applied most frequently in the case of indigenous peoples (Chaptet 3). These populations have been depicted stereotypically as "an inertial drag on future agendas,"1''3 failing to properly exploit the lands they inhabit and the rich resources underfoot.144 A latent economic potential, viewed through the lens of the Protestant work ethic and a capitalist hunger for profit, is held to warrant confiscation of territories, and marginalization or annihilation of their populations.

Those subaltern populations sometimes rose up in rebellion against colonial authority, and those rebellions frequently evoke sympathy - though occasionally they have taken a genocidal form. To the cases of Upper Peru (Bolivia) in the late eighteenth century, and the Caste War of Yucatan in the nineteenth, we might add



the revolution in the French colony of Saint-Domingue that, in 1804, created Haiti as the world's first free black republic. This was a revolt not of indigenous people, but of slaves. It succeeded in expelling the whites, albeit at a devastating cost from which Haiti never fully recovered. As in Bolivia and Yucatan, rebellion and counter-rebellion assumed the form of unbridled race war. Yet this particular variant finds many sympathizers. The great scholar of the Haitian revolution, C.L.R. James, described in the 1930s "the complete massacre" of Saint-Domingue's whites: "The population, stirred to fear at the nearness of the counter-revolution, killed all [whites] with every possible brutality." But James's appraisal of the events excused the race war on the grounds of past atrocities and exploitation by whites. Acknowledging that the victims were defenseless, James lamented only the damage done to the souls of the killers, and their future political culture:

The massacre of the whites was a tragedy; not for the whites. For these old slave­owners, those who burnt a little powder in the arse of a Negro, who buried him alive for insects to eat . . . and who, as soon as they got the chance, began their old cruelties again; for these there is no need to waste one tear or one drop of ink. The tragedy was for the blacks and the Mulattoes [who did the killing]. It was not policy but revenge, and revenge has no place in politics. The whites were no longer to be feared, and such purposeless massacres degrade and brutalise a [perpetrator] population, especially one which was just beginning as a nation and had had so bittet a past. . . . Haiti suffered terribly from the resulting isolation. Whites were banished from Haiti for generations, and the unfortunate country, ruined eco­nomically, its population lacking in social culture, had its inevitable difficulties doubled by this massacre.145

Bolivia, Mexico, and Haiti ate all examples of what Nicholas Robins and I call subaltern genocide, or "genocides by the oppressed."146 In general, genocidal assaults that contain a morally plausible element of revenge, retribution, or revolutionary usurpation are less likely to be condemned, and are often welcomed. Allied fire-bombing and nuclear-bombing of German and Japanese cities, which Leo Kuper and other scholars considered genocidal, are often justified on the grounds that "they started it" (that is, the German and Japanese governments launched mass bombings of civilians before the Allies did). The fate of ethnic-German civilians in Czechoslovakia, Poland, and other Central European countries at the end of the Second World War, and in its aftermath, likewise attracted little empathy until recent times - again because, when it came to mass expulsions of populations and attendant atrocities, the Germans too had "started it." The quarter of a million Serbs expelled from the Krajina and Eastern Slavonia regions of Croatia in 1995 (Chapter 8) now constitute the largest refugee population in Europe; but their plight evokes no great outrage, because of an assignation of collective guilt to Serbs for the Bosnian genocide. (The trend was evident again after the 1999 Kosovo war, when Serb civilians in the province were targeted for murder by ethnic Albanian extremists.)147

Even the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, which could be considered genocidal massacres (see pp. 45—47), secured the equivocal or enthusiastic support of hundreds of millions of people worldwide.



Americans were deemed to have gotten what was coming to them after decades o US imperial intervention. A similar vocabulary of justification and celebration may be found among many Arabs, and other Palestinian supporters, after massacres o Jewish civilians in Israel.

Apart from cases of subaltern genocide, the defenders and deniers of some of history's worst genocides often justify the killings on the grounds of legitimate defensive or retributory action against traitors and subversives. The Turkish refusal to acknowledge the Armenian genocide (Chapter 4) depicts atrocities or "excesses" as the inevitable results of an Armenian rebellion aimed at undermining the Ottoman state. Apologists for Hutu Power in Rwanda claim the genocide of 1994 was nothing more than the continuation of "civil war" or "tribal conflict"; or that Hutus were seeking to pre-empt the kind of genocide at Tutsi hands that Hutus had suffered in neighboring Burundi (Chapter 9). Sympathizers of the Nazi regime in Germany sometimes present the invasion of the USSR as a pre-emptive, defensive war against the Bolshevik threat to Western civilization (Box 6a). Even the Nazis' demonology of a Jewish "cancer" and "conspiracy" resonated deeply with millions of highly edu­cated Germans at the time, and fuels Holocaust denial to the present, though as a fringe phenomenon.

All these cases of denial need to be rejected and confronted (see Chapter 14). But are there instances when genocide may occur in self-defense? The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court abjures criminal proceedings against "the person [who] acts reasonably to defend himself or herself or another person or . . . against an imminent and unlawful use of force, in a manner proportionate to the degree of danger to the person or the other person or property protected." Citing this, William Schabas has noted that "reprisal and military necessity are not formally prohibited by international humanitarian law." However, "reprisal as a defense must be propor­tional, and on this basis its application to genocide would seem inconceivable."148 But Schabas has a tendency, in defending his "hard" and predictably legalistic inter­pretation of the UN Convention, to use terms such as "inconceivable," "obviously incompatible," "totally unnecessary," "definitely inappropriate." Sometimes these may close off worthwhile discussions, such as: What is the acceptable range of responses to genocide? Can genocidal countet-assault be "proportional" in any meaningful sense?

A large part of the problem is that the plausibility we attach to reprisals and retribution frequently reflects our political identifications. We have a harder time condemning those with whom we sympathize, even when their actions are atrocious. Consciously or unconsciously, we distinguish "worthy" from "unworthy" victims.149 And we may be less ready to label as genocidal the atrocities that our chosen "wor­thies" commit. We will return to this issue at the close of the book, when considering personal responsibility lot genocide prevention.




Alex Alvarez, Governments, Citizens, and Genocide: A Comparative and Interdisciplinary Approach. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2001. A sharp and tautly-written analysis from a sociological and criminological perspective. See also Genocidal Crimes.

Paul Bartrop and Steven L. Jacobs, Fifty Key Thinkers on the Holocaust and Genocide.

London: Routledge, 2010. Informative short essays on leading figures in

Holocaust research and comparative genocide studies. Frank Chalk and Kurt Jonassohn, The History and Sociology of Genocide. New Haven,

CT: Yale University Press, 1990. Early and eclectic treatment, still widely read and


John Cooper, Raphael Lemkin and the Struggle for the Genocide Convention. London:

Palgrave Macmillan, 2008. The first full-length biography of Lemkin and his

extraordinary campaign, competently handled. Robert Gellately and Ben Kiernan, eds, The Specter of Genocide: Mass Murder in

Historical Perspective. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003. One of the

best edited volumes on the subject; diverse and vigorously written throughout. Jonathan Glover, Humanity: A Moral History of the Twentieth Century. New Haven,

CT: Yale University Press, 1999. Addresses genocide but ranges far beyond it; a

central work of our time. Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, Worse Than War: Genocide, Eliminationism, and the

Ongoing Assault on Humanity. New York: Basic Books, 2009. Usefully situates

genocide within a broader framework of "eliminationist" ideologies and strategies. William L. Hewitt, ed., Defining the Horrific: Readings on Genocide and Holocaust in

the Twentieth Century. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, 2004.

Accessible, wide-ranging readings, ideal for undergraduate use. Adam Jones, ed., New Directions in Genocide Research. London: Routledge, 2011.

Highlights contributions from the new generation of genocide scholars. Ben Kiernan, Blood and Soil: A World History of Genocide and Extermination from

Sparta to Darfur. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2007. Immense in scope

and detail: the magnum opus by the director of Yale University's Genocide Studies


Leo Kuper, Genocide: Its Political Use in the Twentieth Century. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1981. The foundational text of comparative genocide studies, still in print.

Raphael Lemkin, Key Writings of Raphael Lemkin on Genocide. Compiled by , /lemkin. Online selection of Lemkin's core work on genocide, much of which remains unpublished.

Mark Levene, Genocide in the Age of the Nation State, Vol. 1: The Meaning of Genocide and Vol. 2: The Rise of the West and the Coming of Genocide. London: LB. Tauris, 2005. The richest, most nourishing, most mind-expanding wotk of genocide studies - and there are still two volumes to go.

Michael Mann, The Dark Side of Democracy: Explaining Ethnic Cleansing. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005. Sprawling study of modernity and "mur­derous ethnic cleansing."



Manus I. Midlarsky, The Killing Trap: Genocide in the Twentieth Century. Cambridge:

Cambridge University Press, 2005- Fine study from a political-science perspec­tive, emphasizing the contingency of genocidal processes. Samantha Power, "A Problem from Hell": America and the Age of Genocide. New York:

Basic Books, 2002. Power's multiple award-winning work focuses on the US

response to various genocides. John Quigley, The Genocide Convention: An International Law Analysis. London:

Ashgate, 2006. Stimulating analysis of the Convention, especially provocative

on framings of genocidal intent. Nicholas A. Robins and Adam Jones, eds, Genocides by the Oppressed: Subaltern

Genocide in Theory and Practice. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press,

2009. How, when, and why oppressed populations may adopt genocidal strategies

against their oppressors. Richard L. Rubenstein, The Age of Triage: Fear and Hope in an Overcrowded World.

Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 1983. Groundbreaking study of the elimination of

unwanted populations. Martin Shaw, What is Genocide? Cambridge: Polity Press, 2007. Thoughtful

reexamination of what, exactly, genocide "destroys." Dinah Shelton, ed., Encyclopedia of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity (3 vols).

Detroit, MI: Macmillan Reference, 2005. Massive, admirably inclusive work; a

standard reference.

Dan Stone, ed., The Historiography of Genocide. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008. Wide-ranging compilation examining core themes of the genocide studies literature.

Samuel Totten, William S. Parsons, and Israel W. Charny, eds, A Century of Genocide:

Critical Essays and Eyewitness Accounts (3rd edn). New York: Routledge, 2008.

Unparalleled collection of analyses and testimonies. Samuel Totten and Paul R. Bartrop, eds, The Genocide Studies Reader. London:

Routledge, 2009. A comprehensive selection of essays from the literature - a

useful companion to this volume for graduate courses. Hannibal Travis, Genocide in the Middle East: The Ottoman Empire, Iraq, and Sudan.

Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press, 2010. Broader in scope than its title

suggests: one of the most meticulously documented and up-to-date of the major

histories of genocide. Eric D. Weitz, A Century of Genocide: Utopias of Race and Nation. Princeton, NJ:

Princeton University Press, 2003. Cogent overview, with case studies paralleling

some in this volume.

Benjamin Whitaker, Revised and Updated Report on the Question of the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (The Whitaker Report). ECOSOC (United Nations), July 2, 1985, available in full at / prevent/UNdocs/whitaker. A significant attempt to rethink and revise the UN Genocide Convention.150




1 Leo Kuper, Genocide: Its Political Use in the Twentieth Century (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1981), p. 9.

2 Frank Chalk and Kurt Jonassohn, The History and Sociology of Genocide: Analyses and Case Studies (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1990), p. 64. Ronald Wright has cited archaeological evidence suggesting that the destruction of the Neanderthal popu­lation of Western Europe, roughly 25,000 years ago, "may have been the first genocide. Or, worse, «o?the first - merely the first of which evidence survives. It may follow from this that we are descended from a million years of ruthless victoties, genetically predisposed by the sins of our fathers to do likewise again and again. ... A bad smell of extinction follows Homo sapiens around the world." Wright, A Short History of Progress (Toronto: Anansi Press, 2004), pp. 25, 37.

3 Quoted in Chalk and Jonassohn, The History and Sociology of Genocide, p. 58. Notably, when Troy did finally fall, women and girl children were spared extermination, and instead abducted as slaves (Israel Charnv, ed., The Encyclopedia of Genocide [Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 1999], p. 273). See the discussion of gender and genocide in Chapter 13.

4 Chalk and Jonassohn, The History and Sociology of Genocide, p. 28.

5 Helen Fein, Genocide: A Sociological Perspective (London: Sage, 1993), p. 26.

6 Karen Armstrong, A History of God; quoted in Roy F. Baumeistet, Evil: Inside Human Violence and Cruelty (New York: W.H. Freeman, 1999), p. 171. For other examples of Old Testament genocide, see Chalk and Jonassohn, The History and Sociology of Genocide, pp. 62-63; Eric D. Weitz, A Century of Genocide: Utopias of Race and Nation (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2003), p. 18, citing Joshua's "destruction by the edge of the swotd [of] all in the city [of Jericho], both men and women, young and old, oxen, sheep, and donkeys."

7 "Genocide, God, and the Bible," http://stripe.colorado.edu/-morristo/genocide.html.

8 Mark Levene, Genocide in the Age of the Nation State, Vol. 1: The Meaning of Genocide (London: LB. Tauris, 2005), p. 151.

9 Cited in Louis W. Cable, "The Bloody Bible," Freethought Today, June/July 1997. /legacy/fttoday/1997/june_july97/cable.html. See also the numerous examples of "God-ordered genocide" cited in Bill Moyers, "9/11 and the Sport of God," , September 9, 2005, /views05/ 0909-36.htm.

10 Numbers 31, Revised Standard Edition, quoted in Daniel Chirot and Clark McCauley, Why Not Kill Them All? The logic and Prevention of Mass Political Murder (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2006), pp. 29-30. For more on religion and genocide, see Chapter 15.

11 Ben Kiernan, "The First Genocide: Carthage, 146 BC," Diogenes, 203 (2004), pp. 27-39.

12 Andrew Bell-Fialkoff writes that the First Crusade (1096-99) left "a trail of blood and destruction, throughout the Rhine and the Moselle valleys, as well as in Prague and Hungary. Entire communities, perhaps tens of thousands of people in all, were wiped out. The Crusade culminated in a wholesale massacre of all non-Christians in Jerusalem." Bell-Fialkoff, Ethnic Cleansing (New York: St. Martin's Griffin, 1999), p. 13.

13 Eric S. Margolis, War at the Top of the World: The Struggle for Afghanistan, Kashmir, and Tibet (New York: Routledge, 2001), p. 155. In Hannibal Travis's summary: "After 1200 CE, Genghis Khan led a campaign through Asia that destroyed millions of lives and many ancient cities. In Beijing in 1219, the Mongols slaughtered thousands of people and set the city ablaze, causing it to burn for a month. ... In present-day Konye-Urgench in Turkmenistan, then called Gurganj, a contingent from Genghis Khan's



army, with 100,000 Mongols in all, killed over a million people, in house-to-house fighting that burned large sections of the city. . . ." For his part, Genghis Khan's grandson, Hulagu Khan, "reached Baghdad in the 1250s and massacred 100,000 to two million people there, seizing enormous amounts of gold and treasure, destroying libraries, and soiling and ruining mosques. Mesopotamia's irrigation system was severely damaged, leaving a legacy of dependency on imported food that would have catastrophic consequences during U.N. sanctions in the 1990s." Travis, Genocide in the Middle East: The Ottoman Empire, haq, and Sudan (Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press, 2010), pp. 167-68. On the UN sanctions, see pp. 44-45.

14 See Reynald Secher, A French Genocide: The Vendee, trans. George Holoch (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2003); Mark Levene, "The Vendee - A Paradigm Shift?," ch. 3 in Levene, Genocide in the Age of the Nation State, Vol. 2: The Rise of the West and the Coming of Genocide (London: LB. Tauris, 2005), pp. 103-61. This section also draws on Adam Jones, "Why Gendercide? Why Root-and-Branch? A Comparison of the Vendee Uprising of 1793-94 and the Bosnian War of the 1990s," Journal of Genocide Research, 8:1 (2006),pp. 9-25. For an interesting reportage of travel in the Vendee region, including sites connected with the genocide, see Anthony Petegrine, "France: Vengeance on the Vendee," The Telegraph, August 18, 2009. www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/destinations/europe/france/6048204/France-Vengeance-on-the-Vendee.html

15 Cited in Alain Gerard, «Par principe d'humanite . . . » La Terreur et la Vendee (Paris: Librairie Artheme Fayard, 1999), p. 295.

16 Cited in Arno J. Mayer, The Furies: Violence and Terror in the French and Russian Revolutions (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2000), p. 353.

17 In the estimation of France's greatest historian, Jules Michelet; quoted in Mayer, The Furies, p. 325.

18 Quoted in Secher, A French Genocide, p. 132.

19 Mayer, The Furies, p. 340.

20 Michael R. Mahoney, "The Zulu Kingdom as a Genocidal and Post-genocidal Society, c. 1810 to the Present," fournal of Genocide Research, 5:2 (2003), p. 263.

21 Chalk and Jonassohn, The History and Sociology of Genocide, p. 223.

22 Ibid., pp. 224—25, citing Eugene Victor Walter, Terror and Resistance: A Study of Political Violence.

23 Mahoney, "The Zulu Kingdom," p. 254.

24 Chalk and Jonassohn, The History and Sociology of Genocide, pp. 224—25.

25 Mahoney, "The Zulu Kingdom," p. 255.

26 See , "A Crime without a Name," http://www.preventgenocide. org/ genocide/ crimewithoutaname.htm.

27 John Cooper, Raphael Lemkin and the Struggle for the Genocide Convention (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008), p. 213.

28 Ibid., p. 24.

29 Samantha Power, "A Problem from Hell": America and the Age of Genocide (New York: Basic Books, 2002), p. 20.

30 Lemkin quoted in Power, "A Problem from Hell, "p. 20.

31 Lemkin quoted in Travis, Genocide in the Middle East, p. 28.

32 Lemkin quoted in Power, "A Problem from Hell, "p. 21.

33 "Of particular interest to Lemkin were the reflections of George Eastman, who said he had settled upon 'Kodak as the name for his new camera because: 'First. It is short. Second. It is not capable of mispronunciation. Ehird. It does not tesemble anything in the art and cannot be associated with anything in the art except the Kodak.'" Power, "A Problem from Hell, "pp. 42-43.

34 Lemkin, Axis Rule in Occupied Europe, p. 79.

35 On this point, see Ward S. Churchill, "Genocide by Any Other Name: North American Indian Residential Schools in Context," in Jones, ed., Genocide, War Crimes and the West, p. 80.



36 Stephen Holmes, "Looking Away," London Review of Books, November 14, 2002 (review of Power, "A Problem from Hell').

37 According to Helen Fein, Lemkin's "examples of genocide or genocidal situations include: Albigensians, American Indians, Assyrians in Iraq, Belgian Congo, Christians in Japan, French in Sicily (c. 1282), Hereros, Huguenots, Incas, Mongols, the Soviet Union/Ukraine, [and] Tasmania." Fein, Genocide: A Sociological Perspective, p. 11. Lemkin's study of Tasmania has been edited for publication: see Raphael Lemkin, "Tasmania," edited by Ann Curthoys, Patterns of Prejudice, 39:2 (2005), pp. 170-96 (and Curthoys's Introduction, pp. 162-69).

38 William A. Schabas, Genocide in LnternationalLaw (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), p. 14.

39 As supplied in W. Michael Reisman and Chris T. Antoniou, eds, The Laws of War: A Comprehensive Collection of Primary Documents on International Laws Governing Armed Conflict (New York: Vintage Books, 1994), pp. 84-85.

40 Martin Shaw, What is Genocide? (Cambridge: Polity, 2007), p. 22.

41 L.J. van den Herik concurs that "it is not likely that genocidal acts other than killing - sub (b) to (e) - will be perceived as genocide when they are committed outside a context of mass killing." Van den Herik, The Contribution of the Rwanda Tribunal to the Development of International Law (Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2005), p. 146.

42 Cited in Steven R. Ratner and Jason S. Abrams, Accountability for Human Rights Atrocities: Beyond the Nuremberg Legacy (2nd edn) (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), pp. 30, 32.

43 Schabas, Genocide in International Law,'o. 140.

44 See Beth Van Schaack, "The Crime of Political Genocide: Repairing the Genocide Convention's Blind Spot," Yale Law Journal, 106 (1997), pp. 2259-91.

45 Schabas, Genocide in Lnternational Law, pp. 175, 178.

46 For a survey of the early legal literature, see David Kader, "Law and Genocide: A Critical Annotated Bibliography," Hastings Lnternational and Comparative Law Review, 11 (1988).

47 See my "Filmogtaphy of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity" at http://www. /gaci_filmogtaphy.htm.

48 Christopher Rudolph, "Constructing an Atrocities Regime: The Politics of War Crimes Tribunals," Lnternational Organization, 55: 3 (Summer 2001), p. 659. Rudolph cites Kenneth Abbott and Duncan Snidal, who "define 'hard' legalization as legally binding obligations characterized by high degrees of obligation, ptecision, and delegation, and define 'soft' legalization as a more flexible manifestation characterized by varying degrees along one or most of these same dimensions."

49 In this context, it is worth noting the verdict of the ICTR that the law of genocide "did not include a requirement that the perpetrator be a State official. Hence, individuals connected to non-State actors, such as the lnterahamwe [genocidal militia] and RTLM [extremist radio station], and other persons not affiliated with the government, such as businessmen, who had all played a major role in the preparation, organization and execution of the genocide, could also be held responsible for genocide" (see Chapter 9). Van den Herik, The Contribution of the Rwanda Tribunal, p. 269.

50 Mark Levene also stresses that "it is the perpetrator, not the victim (or bystander) who defines the group" (emphasis in original). Levene, Genocide in the Age of the Nation State, Vol. 1, p. 79. Patrick Wolfe contends that a property like "race cannot be taken as given. It is made in the targeting." Wolfe, "Structure and Event: Settler Colonialism, Time, and the Question of Genocide," in A. Ditk Moses, ed., Empire, Colony, Genocide: Conquest, Occupation, and Subaltern Resistance in World History (New York: Berghahn Books, 2008), p. 111. According to Scott Straus, "Genocide is not catried out against a group bounded by essential internal properties. Rather, genocide is carried out against a group that the perpetrator believes has essential properties . . . however Active such a belief may be." Straus quoted in Levene, Genocide, Vol. 1, p. 87.



51 Irving Louis Horowitz, Taking Lives: Genocide and State Power (4th edn) (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 1996), p. 265. Benjamin Whitaker, in his mid-1980s reevaluation of the Genocide Convention for the UN, likewise contended that "in part" should mean a "reasonably significant number, relative to the total of the group as a whole, or else a significant section of a group such as its leadership." Quoted in John Quigley, The Genocide Convention: An International Law Analysis (London: Ashgate, 2006), p. 141.

52 Dtost quoted in Cutthoys and Docker, "Defining Genocide," p. 22.

53 Steven Katz, The Holocaust in Historical Context, Vol. 1: The Holocaust and Mass Death before the Modern Age (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994), p. 131.

54 "Annan's Nobel Speech in Oslo," The New York Times, December 11, 2001.

55 Chile Eboe-Osuji, "Rape as Genocide: Some Questions Arising," Journal of Genocide Research, 9: 2 (2007), pp. 262-63. Eboe-Osuji adds: "This mischief was especially evident during the Rwandan genocide, when the US government refused to acknowledge that a genocide was in progress, for fear of being impelled to do something about it, while seman-tically acknowledging that 'acts of genocide' (rather than genocide) wete occurring."

56 On the Marsh Arabs, see Joseph W. Dellapenna, "The Iraqi Campaign against the Marsh Arabs: Ecocide as Genocide," furist, January 31, 2003. http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/ forum/forumnew92.php

57 See the full text of the declaration at /esa/socdev/unpfii/en/drip.html.

58 Reporters Without Borders, "Media Allowed to Use Kurdish Language But Still Forbidden to Discuss Kurdish Issues Freely," November 20, 2009. / Media-allowed-to-use-Kurdish.html

59 See Ilan Pappe, "The Memoricide of the Nakba," ch. 10 in Pappe, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine (Oxford: Oneworld, 2006), pp. 225-34; Jonathan Cook, "Memoricide in the West Bank," , March 10, 2009, http://www.counterpunch. org/cook03102009.html.

60 Shaw, What is Genocide?, pp. 34, 106, 156. Emphasis in original.

61 Daniel Feierstein, "Political Violence in Argentina and Its Genocidal Characteristics," in Marcia Esparza, Henry R. Huttenbach and Daniel Feierstein, eds, State Violence and Genocide in Latin America: The Cold War Years (London: Routledge, 2010), p. 61.

62 Lemkin quoted in Coopet, Raphael Lemkin, p. 241.

63 A. Dirk Moses, "Empire, Colony, Genocide: Keywords and the Philosophy of History," in Moses, ed., Empire, Colony, Genocide, pp. 12, 15.

64 William A. Schabas, "Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide," United Nations Treaty Collection, /cod/avl/ha/ cppcg/ cppcg.html.

65 Robert van Krieken, "Cultural Genocide in Austtalia," in Stone, ed., The Historiography of Genocide (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008), p. 131.

66 For a nuanced exploration of the applicability of the genocide framework to indigenous peoples' experiences, see Andrew Woolford, "Ontological Destruction: Genocide and Canadian Aboriginal Peoples," Genocide Studies and Prevention, 4: 1 (2009), pp. 81-97.

67 Cooper, Raphael Lemkin, p. 158.

68 John Quigley, The Genocide Convention: An Lnternational Law Analysis (London: Ashgate, 2006), p. 105.

69 CBC Digital Archives, "Fighting Words: Bill 101," http://atchives.cbc.ca/politics/ provincial_territorial_politics/topics/1297/.

70 Benoit Aubin, "Bill 101: 30 Years On," The Canadian Encyclopedia, August 13, 2007.

71 "The UN says ethnic cleansing is by genocide or forced migration. In black and white I guess Bill 101 fits pretty well" (post by Whetesmyneighbours, February 28, 2009, /2009/02/24/journal-lockout-l-month). A March 31, 2009 post by blogget Steve Karmazenuk, apparently a disenchanted member of the provincial Liberal Party, assailed "Quebec's War on Anglos," alleging an "underreported and ongoing campaign of ethnic cleansing by attrition [which] has continued to be



ignored" by the Liberals (/2009/03/message-to-anglo-community.html). Interestingly, the language of genocide has recently been revived on the othet side of the language fence - reflecting francophone concerns over creeping Anglicization and bilingualism. In a TV interview in 2008, the writet Victor-Levy Beaulieu declared that "If all Quebec becomes bilingual, what awaits us is a slow genocide." Graeme Hamilton, "Lost in Translation: 30 Years On, Quebecers Are Still Hot about Bill 101," National Post, February 16, 2008.

72 Government of Canada Privy Council Office figures cited and supplemented in "English-Speaking Quebecker," Wikipedia, /wiki/English-speaking_Quebecker. See also Garth Stevenson, Community Besieged: The Anglophone Minority and the Politics of Quebec (Montteal, PQ: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1999).

73 CBC News Online, "Language Laws in Quebec," March 30, 2005, http://www. cbc. ca/canada/ story/2009/10/22/f-quebec-language-laws-bill-101 .html.

74 CBC Digital Archives, "Fighting Wotds."

75 "A generation later, the language charter is widely accepted as an intrinsic patt of Quebec's social fabric. Both anglos and francophones of moderate petsuasion say the law has engendered an unprecedented era of social peace and easing of language tensions and fostered a cross-cultural communication between English and French Quebecers that has served as an important bridge between the storied 'two solitudes' of the bad old days." Hubett Bauch, "Bill 101 Paved Way for Peace," The Gazette (Montreal), August 25, 2007.

76 Kuper, Genocide, p. 166.

77 Ibid.

78 David Moshman, "Conceptions of Genocide and Perceptions of History," in Dan Stone, ed., The Historiography of Genocide (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008), p. 86.

79 Adam Jones, "Problems of Gendercide," in Jones, ed., Gendercide and Genocide (Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt Univetsity Press, 2004), p. 260.

80 Jeffrey Herf, The Jewish Enemy: Nazi Propaganda during World War II and the Holocaust (Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2006), pp. 150-51. For another important study of the "Judeo-Bolshevik" motif, see Lorna Waddington, Hitler's Crusade: Bolshevism and the Myth ojthe InternationalJewish Conspiracy (London: Tauris Academic Studies, 2007). Like Herf, Waddington contends that in Hitler's mind, "the scourge of Bolshevism had always been inextricably linked to the wider danger presented to Germany and the world by the machinations of international Jewry. That fact alone is indicative of the profound significance of anti-Bolshevism as a determinant of his political actions" (p. 210), and as a determinant of how the Jew was depicted in the Nazi Weltanschauung (world-view).

81 Nazi press report quoted in Herf, The Jewish Enemy, p. 189.

82 Mark Levene writes that for Hitler and the Nazis, "the international Jewish conspiracy" "operat[ed] through manifold, multi-layered forces of subversion and pollution, including Bolshevism, capitalism, cultural modernism, sexual contamination, racial emasculation and disease . . ." Levene, Genocide in the Age of the Nation State, Vol. 1, p. 69.

83 Nazi pamphlet quoted in Herf, The Jewish Enemy, p. 101. In fact, as Herf shows (p. 96), while at one point Jews constituted over a quarter of Bolshevik Central Committee members (around 1917), by 1939 (when World War Two erupted, supposedly at Jewish behest) it was roughly 10 percent. At no time did Jewish members of the Communist Party exceed around 5 percent of the total.

84 Petet Fritzsche, life and Death in the Third Reich (Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2008), p. 196.

85 Saul Friedlander similarly notes that "on occupied Soviet territory . . . the extermination was first aimed at Jews as carriers of the Soviet system, then at Jews as potential pattisans and finally as hostile elements living in territories ultimately destined for German colonization: The three categories merged of course into one." Friedlander, The Years of



Extermination: Nazi Germany and the Jews, 1939—1945 (New York: HarperCollins, 2007), p. 237.

86 Shaw, What is Genocide?, p. 117.

87 Karl A. Schleunes, The Twisted Road to Auschwitz: Nazi Policy toward German Jews, 1933—1939 (Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1990); Browning's comment is in his back-cover endorsement.

88 Levene, Genocide in the Age of the Nation State, Vol. 2, p. 66; Vol. 1, p. 51. Donald Bloxham likewise issues "a plea for normalisation of the study of state-sponsored mass murder, for a recognition that it emerges, like many other governmental policies across a spectrum of regimes, often piecemeal, informed by ideology but according to shifts of circumstances." Bloxham, Genocide, The World Wars, and the Unweaving of Europe (London: Vallentine Mitchell, 2008), p. 38.

89 Benjamin Madley, "Patterns of Frontier Genocide 1803-1910: The Aboriginal Tasmanians, the Yuki of California, and the Herero ofNamibia," Journal of Genocide Research, 6: 2 (June 2004), pp. 167-92.

90 Levene, Genocide in the Age of the Nation State, Vol. l,p.61.

91 A. Dirk Moses, "Empire, Colony, Genocide: Keywords and the Philosophy of History," in Moses, ed., Empire, Colony, Genocide, p. 29.

92 Scott Sttaus, The Order of Genocide: Race, Power, and War in Rwanda (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2006), p. 12.

93 As the International Law Commission, "which dtafts treaties for the UN General Assembly," analyzed the question of genocidal intent: "The prohibited acts enumerated in subparagraphs (a) to (e) [of the Genocide Convention] are by their very nature conscious, intentional or volitional acts which an individual could not usually commit without knowing that certain consequences were likely to result." Quoted in Quigley, The Genocide Convention, p. 91. Emphasis added.

94 Robert Gellately and Ben Kiernan contend similarly that undet the prevailing international-legal understanding, "genocidal intent also applies to acts of destruction that are not the specific goal but are predictable outcomes or by-products of a policy, which could have been avoided by a change in that policy." Gellately and Kiernan, "The Study of Mass Murder and Genocide," in Gellately and Kiernan, eds, The Specter of Genocide: Mass Murder in Historical Perspective (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), p. 15.

95 Quigley, The Genocide Convention, pp. 121-22.

96 In his "Proposed Convention on Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide," Churchill maps "gradations of culpability" for genocide onto domestic law's concept of "degrees" of homicide. He distinguishes among "(a) Genocide in the First Degree, which consists of instances in which evidence of premeditated intent to commit genocide is ptesent. (b) Genocide in the Second Degree, which consists of instances in which evidence of premeditation is absent, but in which it can be reasonably argued that the perpetrator(s) acted with reckless disregard for the probability that genocide would result from their actions, (c) Genocide in the Third Degree, which consists of instances in which genocide derives, however unintentionally, from other violations of international law engaged in by the perpetrator(s). (d) Genocide in the Fourth Degree, which consists of instances in which neither evidence of premeditation nor othet criminal behavior is present, but in which the perpetiator(s) acted with depraved indifference to the possibility that genocide would result from their actions and thetefore [failed] to effect adequate safeguards to prevent it." Ward Churchill, A Little Matter of Genocide: Holocaust and Denial in the Americas, l492to the Present (San Francisco, CA: City Lights Books, 1997), pp. 434-35.

97 Alex Alvarez, Governments, Citizens, and Genocide: A Comparative and Interdisciplinary Approach (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2001), p. 52.

98 On "reasonable foreseeability," see Tony Barta, "Sorry, and Not Sorry, in Australia: How the Apology to the Stolen Generations Buried a History of Genocide," Journal of Genocide Research, 10: 2 (2008), p. 208, citing work by Sarah Pritchard.



99 This part of the discussion draws on personal correspondence with John Quigley, February 13, 2010.

100 Alexander K.A. Greenawalt, "Rethinking Genocidal Intent: The Case for a Knowledge-based Interpretation," Columbia Law Review, 99: 8 (1999), p. 2269. Emphasis added.

101 Akayesu judgment quoted in Schabas, Genocide in Lnternational Law, p. 212. Emphasis added. Schabas considers this approach "definitely inappropriate in the case of genocide."

102 Quigley, The Genocide Convention, p. 114.

103 Van den Herik, The Contribution of the Rwanda Tribunal, p. 111.

104 For a superbly accessible introduction to the institution of Atlantic slavery, see Robert Harms, The Diligent: A Voyage Through the Worlds of the Slave Trade (New Yotk: Basic Books, 2002).

105 After conducting a useful review of available sources, Matthew White concludes: "If we assume the absolute worst, a death toll as high as 60 million is at the very edge of possibility; however, the likeliest number of deaths would fall somewhere from 15 to 20 million." White, "Twentieth Century Atlas - Historical Body Count," http://users. erols. com/mwhite28/warstatv.htm. To arrive at such a total, one can begin with the figure of eleven to fifteen million slaves "shipped between the fifteenth and the nine­teenth century," cited in Hugh Thomas, The Slave Trade: The Story of the Atlantic Slave Trade: 1440-1870 (New York: Touchstone, 1997), p. 862. (Thomas himself argues for an "approximate figure . . . [of] something like eleven million slaves, give ot take 500,000.") A widely held view is that approximately 50 percent of those captured as slaves died before they were shipped from West African ports. To these eleven to fifteen million victims, one adds approximately two million more who died on the "middle passage" between Africa and the Americas, and an unknown but certainly very large number who perished after arrival, either during the brutal "seasoning" process or on the plantations.

106 Seymour Drescher, "The Atlantic Slave Trade and the Holocaust: A Comparative Analysis," in Alan S. Rosenbaum, ed., Is the Holocaust Unique? Perspectives on Comparative Genocide (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2001), pp. 97-117. See also Jeffrey Herf, "Comparative Perspectives on Anti-Semitism, Radical Anti-Semitism in the Holocaust and American White Racism," Journal of Genocide Research, 9: 4 (2007), pp. 575-600; and A. Dirk Moses, "The Fate of Blacks and Jews: A Response to Jeffrey Hetf," Journal of 'Genocide Research, 10: 2 (2008), pp. 269-87.

107 Michael Ignatieff, "Lemkin's Word," The New Republic, February 26, 2001.

108 See, e.g., the Black American journalist Keith Richburg's controversial article, "American in Africa," in Washington Post Magazine, March 26, 1995, available online at http://www. /wp-srv/inatl/longterm/richburg/richbrgl.htm.

109 Orlando Patterson, Slavery and Social Death: A Comparative Study (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1982), p. 164.

110 The fact that slavery in the United States was far less destructive of slaves' lives, compared to the Caribbean or Portuguese America (Brazil), is an important factor in weighing the applicability of the genocide framework to different slavery institutions in the Americas. Life for slaves in the US was a calvary; in French-controlled Haiti it was a holocaust. Recall, however, that millions of slaves died en route to West African ports and New World plantations. These rates do not seem to have been lower for slaves shipped to US destinations.

111 We Charge Genocide: The Historic Petition to the United Nations for Relief from a Crime of the United States Government against the Negro People (New York: International Publishets, 1970), p. xv.

112 The Ku Klux Klan was, and in a somewhat ttansformed guise still is, a white-supremacist organization based in the US South. It began as an atmed militia in the post-Civil War era, and was responsible for many acts of terrorism and violent vigilantism against blacks. See Allen W. Trelease, White Terror: The Ku Klux Klan Conspiracy and Southern Reconstruction (Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press, 1995); Stephen Budiansky, The Bloody Shirt: Terror after the Civil War (New Yotk: Plume, 2008).



113 We Charge Genocide, p. 6.

114 Raphael Lemkin's response to the controversy was illuminating, and not in a way that reflects well on the foundet of genocide studies. Accotding to Ann Curthoys and John Docker, Lemkin "argued vehemently that the provisions of the Genocide Convention bore no telation to the US Government ot its position vis-a-vis Black citizens." He was anxious that the charges not derail American ratification of his cherished Genocide Convention. Moreover, Lemkin was ardently wooing the Slavic and Baltic populations that had fallen under Soviet rule (and receiving significant funding from their usually self-appointed representatives). Thus we have his frankly craven comments to The New York Times on December 18, 1951, accusing Patterson and Robeson of being "un-American," and declaring that We Charge Genocide was a communist ploy to "divert attention from the crimes of genocide committed against Estonians, Latvians, Lithuanians, Poles and other Soviet-subjugated peoples." For Curthoys and Docker, his response raises "disturbing questions . . . concerning Lemkin and his attitudes to African American history and people: perhaps there was a fundamental lack of sympathy." Ann Curthoys and John Docker, "Defining Genocide," in Stone, ed., The Historiography of Genocide, pp. 19-20. In this respect, the authors contend, Lemkin was "conforming to a long tradition of European superiority and contempt towards Africa" (p. 21).

115 Eric Langenbacher, "The Allies in World War II: The Anglo-American Bombardment of German Cities," in Jones, ed., Genocide, War Crimes and the West, pp. 117-19. See also Howard Zinn, "Hiroshima and Royan," in William L. Hewitt, ed., Defining the Horrific: Readings on Genocide and Holocaust in the Twentieth Century (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson, 2004), pp. 187-99. Zinn, a renowned dissident historian, was also a US veteran of the area-bombing campaign against Germany; the chaptei relates some of his personal experiences.

116 See the description of the raid in Eric Markusen and David Kopf, The Holocaust and Strategic Bombing: Genocide and Total War in the Twentieth Century (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1995), pp. 175-80.

117 "I cannot accept the view that. . . the bombing, in time of war, of such civilian enemy populations as those of Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Hamburg, and Dresden does not constitute genocide within the terms of the [UN] convention." Kuper, Genocide, cited in Chalk and Jonassohn, The History and Sociology of Genocide, p. 24. Mary Kaldor also argues that "the indiscriminate bombing of civilians . . . creat[ed] a scale of devastation of genocidal proportions." Mary Kaldor, New and Old Wars: Organized Violence in a Global Era (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2001), p. 25.

118 "Was strategic bombing genocidal? Put bluntly, our answer is yes." Markusen and Kopf, The Holocaust and Strategic Bombing, p. 255; see the extended discussion at pp. 244-58. For a judgment of the area bombings of German and Japanese cities as "moral crimes," see A.C. Grayling, Among the Dead Cities: The History and Moral Legacy of the WWII Bombing of Civilians in Germany and fapan (New York: Walker & Company, 2006). On the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, see Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, Worse Than War: Genocide, Eliminationism, and the Ongoing Assault on Humanity (New York: Basic Books, 2009), pp. 3-8, arguing that "the willful slaughter of more than a quarter of a million people, in full view of the world, should be universally recognized for what it was, causing the label 'mass murderer to be affixed to [President Hatty] Truman's name . . . putting Truman and his deeds into the same broad categories of Hitler and the Holocaust, Stalin and the gulag, Pol Pot, Mao, Saddam Hussein, and Slobodan Milosevic and their victims," though "without judging them morally as being equivalent" (pp. 6, 8).

119 Taylor quoted in Chalk and Jonassohn, The History and Sociology of Genocide, p. 25.

120 Ronald Takaki, Hiroshima: Why America Dropped the Atomic Bomb (Boston, MA: Little, Brown, 1995), pp. 30, 153 (n. 3).

121 See, e.g., Brahma Chellaney, "No Rationalization for Nagasaki Attack," The fapan Times, August 10, 2005.



122 See Ramsey Clark, "Criminal Complaint against the United States and Others for Crimes against the People of Iraq (1996) and Letter to the Security Council (2001)," in Jones, ed., Genocide, War Crimes and the West, p. 271. The forum in question was the International Court on Crimes Against Humanity Committed by the UN Security Council on [sic] Iraq, held on November 16-17, 1996. For more on citizens' tribunals, see Chaptet 15. Clark's phrase "for the purpose of is not clearly supported by the evidence; an accusation of genocide founded on willful and malignant negligence is, foi me, more persuasive.

123 For an argument along these lines, see John G. Heidenrich, How to Prevent Genocide: A Guide for Policymakers, Scholars, and the Concerned Citizen (Westport, CT: Praeger, 2001), pp. 101-3.

124 Quigley, The Genocide Convention, p. 204.

125 Albright on 60 Minutes, May 12, 1996. She later disowned the comment.

126 Bonior quoted in "US Congressmen Criticise Iraqi Sanctions," BBC Online, February 17, 2000, http://news.bbc.co.Uk/l/hi/world/middle_east/646783.stm.

127 Denis J. Halliday, "US Policy and Iraq: A Case of Genocide?," in Jones, ed., Genocide, War Crimes and the West, p. 264 (based on a November 1999 speech in Spain).

128 A useful definition of terrorism is offered by the US Congtess: "any [criminal] activity that . . . appears to be intended (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by assassination or kidnapping." Quoted in Noam Chomsky, 9-11 (New York: Seven Stories Press, 2001), p. 16 (note).

129 For Kuper, genocidal massacres are "expressed characteristically in the annihilation of a section of a group - men, women and children, as for example in the wiping out of whole villages." Kuper, Genocide, p. 10.

130 See the H-Genocide discussion logs for September 2001, searchable at /logsearch/. The posts cited here can be found in the archives for September 16, 2001 (Ronayne) and September 20 (Cribb).

131 Goldhagen, Worse Than War, pp. 490-91. Goldhagen defines "Political Islam" as a "phenomenon including] only Islamic-grounded political regimes, organizations, and initiatives that shate ... a common ideological foundation about Islam's political primacy ot its need to systematically and politically roll back the West - a conviction that the fundamentally corrupt modern world must be refashioned, including by annihilating othets" (p. 492). In addition to the terrorists of al-Qaeda, he cites established regimes such as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's in Iran (see p. 521) and Omar al-Bashir's in Sudan (Box 9a).

132 Vandana Shiva, "War against Nature and the Peoples of the South," in Sarah Anderson, ed., Views from the South (San Francisco, CA: Food First Books, 2000), pp. 93, 113. See also Paul Farmer, "On Suffering and Structural Violence: A View from Below," in Nancy Scheper-Hughes and Philippe Bourgois, eds, Violence in War and Peace (London: Blackwell, 2004), pp. 281-89.

133 Ziegler quoted in "UN Expert Decries Assassination' By Hunger of Millions of Children," UN News Center, October 28, 2005. An assistant to Ziegler confirmed that the comments were "directly translated from the French," and added that in the past Ziegler had described the "world order" as "murderous" (Sally-Anne Way, personal communication, November 3, 2005). In a similar vein, Stephen Lewis, the UN Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa, stated of the global AIDS crisis: "This pandemic cannot be allowed to continue, and those who watch it unfold with a kind of pathological equanimity must be held to account. There may yet come a day when we have peacetime tribunals to deal with this particular version of crimes against humanity." Lewis quoted in Michael Mann, Incoherent Empire (London: Verso, 2005), p. 61.

134 Kal Holsti, personal communication, June 29, 2005.

135 See Henry Shue, Basic Rights: Subsistence, Affluence, and U.S. Foreign Policy (2nd edn) (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1996), p. 207 (n. 17). I am citing Shue somewhat out of context: his phrase refers to specific historical events during the Second



World War, when "over 6 million Asians were . . . allowed to starve" under colonial (British and French) dominion. See also the discussion of imperial famines in Chaptet 2. In his study of Belgian genocide in the Congo (see Chapter 2), Martin Ewans also refers to "genocide by neglect" in post-independence Africa, "with a massive, on-going loss of life . . . being treated in Europe [and elsewhere] with near total indifference." Ewans, European Atrocity, African Catastrophe: Leopold II, the Congo Free State and its Aftermath (London: RoutledgeCurzon, 2002), p. 252.

136 Galtung quoted in Joseph Nevins, A Not-so-distant Horror: Mass Violence in East Timor (London: RoutledgeCurzon, 2002), p. 252.

137 Sachs quoted in J. Tyrangiel, "Bono," Time (Latin American edition), March 4, 2002. Princeton professor Stephen F. Cohen has argued that the death toll exacted by the "nihilistic zealotry" of proponents of "savage capitalism" was tens of millions in Russia alone following the collapse of the Soviet Union: to US supporters of radical free-market policies there, "the lost lives of perhaps 100 million Russians seem not to mattet, only American investments, loans, and reputations." See Cohen, Failed Crusade: America and the Tragedy of Post-communist Russia (New York: W.W. Norton, 2000), pp. 38, 50.

138 Holsti, personal communication, June 29, 2005.

139 The issue of "voluntarism" is pertinent, for example, in the case of tobacco sale and consumption. It kills millions of people each year around the world, and is strongly "pushed" by corporate actors; but it is also to a significant extent "pulled" by the voluntary (though also dependent) agency of the tobacco consumer.

140 Adam Jones, "Genocide and Structural Violence: Challenges of Definition, Prevention, and Intervention," forthcoming in Jones, ed., New Directions in Genocide Research (London: Routledge, 2011).

141 Norbert Finzsch, '"The Aborigines . . . Were Never Annihilated, and Still They are Becoming Extinct': Settler Imperialism and Genocide in Nineteenth-century America and Australia," in Moses, ed., Empire, Colony, Genocide, p. 253.

142 Ervin Staub does ask "Is mass killing ever justified?," but quickly answers in the negative, and even rejects the notion that "genocides and mass killings [are] ever 'rational' expressions of self-intetest." Staub, The Roots of Evil: The Origins of Genocide and Other Group Violence (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989), pp. 11-12.

143 Levene, Genocide in the Age of the Nation State, Vol. 2, p. 8.

144 For example, this comment by "a British observer" of the genocide against Herero and Nama in German South West Africa (Chapter 3): "There can be no doubt, I think, that the war has been of an almost unmixed benefit to the German colony. Two warlike races have been exterminated, wells have been sunk, new water-holes discovered, the country mapped and covered with telegraph lines, and an enormous amount of capital has been laid out." Quoted in Mark Levene, "Why Is the Twentieth Century the Century of Genocide?," Journal of World History, 11:2 (2000), pp. 315—16.

145 C.L.R. James, The Black facobins: Toussaint I'Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution (2nd rev. edn) (New York: Vintage Books, 1989), pp. 373-74. Emphasis added.

146 "Subaltern genocide" and "genocides by the oppressed" are terms that Nicholas Robins and I coined in 2004, and deployed in our edited volume, Genocides by the Oppressed: Subaltern Genocide in Theory and Practice (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2009).

147 Martin Shaw writes: "Groups are always to some extent actors, participants in conflict, as well as victims of it. . . . Liberal humanitarianism often finds it easiest to represent victim groups as pure victims — innocent civilian populations attacked by state or paramilitary power. Thus the West sees Iraqi Kurds and Kosova Albanians only as helpless civilians, not as groups that have supported political movements or guerrilla struggle. . . . Armed groups may even carry out mutually genocidal war, against each others' populations. In these situations, we need to recognize the complex patterns that make groups - and often individuals - both participants and victims, at different times." Shaw, War and Genocide: Organized Killing in Modern Society (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2003), p. 187.



148 Schabas, Genocide in International Law, p. 341.

149 The terms "worthy" and "unworthy" victims are deployed by Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky in Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media (New York: Pantheon, 1988).

150 In 1982, the Englishman Benjamin Whitaker was appointed Special Rappotteur by the UN's Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) to revise a previously commissioned study on reform to the Genocide Convention. Whitaker's report was submitted in 1985 and "made a number of innovative and controversial conclusions . . . Whitaker wanted to amend the Convention in order to include political groups and groups based on sexual orientation, to exclude the plea of supetior orders, to extend the punish­able acts to those of 'advertent omission' and to pursue consideration of cultural genocide, 'ethnocide' and 'ecocide.'" Schabas, Genocide in International law, p. 467. Whitaker's proposals so divided his sponsors that his report was tabled and never acted upon - in my view, an opportunity missed to substantially advance legal and scholarly understandings of genocide.


State and Empire; War and Revolution

No study of genocide can proceed without attention to the four horsemen of the genocidal apocalypse, cited in this chapter's title. Tracing the connections between state-formation and empire-building; incorporating an understanding of war and revolution; and linking all these to genocidal outbreaks, is arguably genocide studies' single most fertile line of recent inquiry.

At the heart of these phenomena is the nation-state, contests over it, and resistance to it. Mark Levine's two-volume Genocide in the Age of the Nation State gives the game away in the title.1 For Levene, and for many other scholars, the emergence of the modern nation-state represents a qualitative itruption in history, and the advent of a new form of genocide — perhaps even of "genocide" as such. Whether or not ancient leaders can be branded as genocidaires remains a matter of dispute. I did not hesitate to do so in Chapter 1. Yet however one chooses to classify the state violence inflicted over millennia, it is clear that it was common in the pre-modern age. Exterminatory mass violence, in short, is inseparable from the human record. And generally, it has been the agents of states and quasi-states — military and police formations, colonists, bureaucratic administrators - that have been the most prominent and essential perpetrators. Their systematic behavior in various locations over time is what helps to distinguish genocide — legally, practically, and historically - from other patterned and collective violence, like the "riots and pogroms" of Paul Brass's classic study (see Chapter 12).

The central emphasis on state and empire in recent key works of genocide studies pivots on the concepts of social ordering and "legibility," ethnonational collectivity, and racial hierarchy and "purity" that emerged from the Enlightenment and its



multiple philosophical and scientific revolutions. The modern state developed into a bureaucratically complex and administratively capacious entity. As it did, it tried to impose a "legible" order upon social formations that were often patchwork and fragmented, from the state's Olympian perspective. Political scientist James C. Scott's Seeing Like a State shows how this produced not only ugly, hyper-rational architectural schemes (viz. Brasilia), but also a hubris that fueled, in turn, some of modernity's greatest catastrophes, such as Stalin's collectivization campaigns and Mao's "Great Leap Forward" (Chapter 5).2

Classical and modern states alike have coalesced and expanded through acts of imperialism and colonization. The growing emphasis on these processes in genocide studies, led by the European/Australasian school gathered in Dirk Moses's Empire, Colony, Genocide collection, has supplemented the previous focus on the atrocities of fascism and communism. The new agenda, for the first time, ditects systematic attention to a third major genocidal "-ism" - colonialism - and to the imperial holocausts that Western and other countries unleashed on indigenous populations during the great waves of Western colonization (sixteenth to twentieth centuries). Most of this colonial expansion was capitalist or proto-capitalist in nature, certainly with regard to the most destructive institutions imposed on native peoples. Indeed, it was the gold and silver of the Spanish American mines, sustained by genocidal slave labor and circulated throughout Europe by indebted Spanish rulers, that helped to kick-start modern capitalism. These tendencies remain prominent today, in a post-colonial period in which capitalism reigns supreme as a system of economic organization and exploitation. The fact that the most powerful "neo-colonial" players continue to be self-proclaimed democratic exemplars, as they were in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, may undermine the "democratic peace" hypothesis that figured in some early formulations of genocide and genocide prevention (see further discussion in Chapter 12).

Incorporating a global-comparative perspective on the genocides of the last half-millennium has enabled important advances in the undetstanding of events central to the genocide studies field — such as the process of Ottoman imperial dissolution, reciprocal genocidal killing (during the "Unweaving" in the Balkans), and complex international jockeying that factored into the massive anti-Christian slaughters in Anatolia in 1915 and thereafter (Chapter 4). Perhaps surprisingly, it is the most iconic genocide of all, the Jewish Holocaust, that has benefited most from these new framings. Analysts from Raul Hilberg to Zygmunt Bauman and Gotz Aly had emphasized the statist-bureaucratic dimension of the Holocaust. Daniel Feierstein has now expanded on this to suggest that the Nazi state's very self-conception, its "reading" of the German population, led it to fundamentally distrust and anathema­tize "cosmopolitan" and "stateless" elements - Jews and Roma/Gypsies above all. These were depicted as standing in opposition, not only to the German state, but to the very idea and project of a state. Moreover, thanks to the work of historians like Benjamin Madley, Jtirgen Zimmerer, and Jan-Bart Gewald, we better perceive the link between the Nazis and earlier German imperialists - notably those who orchestrated the systematic mass murder of the Herero and Nama peoples of present-day Namibia in 1904-07 (see Chapter 3). In the wake of seminal studies by (among others) historians Karel Berkhoff, Wendy Lower, and Mark Mazower, we also have



for the first time a clear sense of the imperial contours and character of Nazi policies, in the occupied east above all (Poland, Belorussia, Ukraine, Russia).3 We see how this empire was imagined, "sold" to Germans, and administered along traditional Western colonial lines — in part as a claiming or reclaiming of Germany's "place in the sun," following the failed imperial projects of previous decades.

If Germany's annihilation war in the east was fundamentally one of imperial conquest, then this points to war's role in enabling and justifying genocides through­out history. And as a vision of radical social revolution through titanic social engineering, it attests to the connection between genocide and the world-changing hubris that often underpins it — whether from a leftist-communist or rightist-capitalist direction. Such grand projects of social revolution, state-building, and political-imperial expansion inevitably generate resistance - and so, much of the warmaking of revolutionary and irredentist states becomes counterinsurgentviolence. This dynamic is no less central to an understanding of war, revolution, and genocide for its involving, to some extent, a reactive stance and retributive policy on the state's part.

The present chapter addresses these "four horsemen" of genocide - state-building, imperialism/colonialism, war, and social revolution - and explores their interactions and interpenetrations. This paves the way for the exploration of genocide case-studies presented in Patt 2 of the book.


Imperialism is "a policy undertaken by a state to directly control foreign economic, physical, and cultural resources."4 Colonialism is "a specific form of imperialism involving the establishment and maintenance, for an extended period of time, of rule over an alien people that is separate from and subordinate to the ruling power."5

Imperialism and colonialism are mapped into the DNA of the state, both in its classical and its modern guise. The units that we know as states or nation-states were generally created by processes of imperial expansion followed by internal colonialism.6 The designated or desirable boundaries of the state were first imposed on coveted lands through imperialism, then actualized, rationalized, made "legible" and exploitable by the imposition of members of the dominant group or its surrogates upon adjacent or nearby territories and populations. The internal expansion of the state's capacities continued apace throughout the early modern period. Processes of turning Peasants into Frenchmen, to cite Eugen Weber - and into Germans, Britons, Americans, Soviets - could be evolutionary and benign, in Raphael Lemkin's view. But often, as in the Vendee case described in Chapter 1, the state's centralizing project was perceived as a mortal threat by other populations and power centers. The crushing of resistance to the statist-expansionist enterprise inevitably assumed a genocidal scale and character, and continues to do so.

The greatest relevance of the internal-colonialism concept is for indigenous popu­lations worldwide. Native people occupy marginal positions both territorially and socially; their traditional homelands are often coveted by expanding state settlement from the center. Profits flow from periphery to core; the environment is ravaged. The



result is the undermining and dissolution, often the destruction, of indigenous societies, accomplished by massacres, selective killings, expulsions, coerced labor, disease, and substance abuse. Other examples of internal colonialism in this book include the Chinese in Tibet (Chapter 5); Stalin's USSR vis-a-vis both the Soviet countryside and minority ethnicities (Chapter 5);7 and Indonesia in East Timor (Chapter 7).

Genocide is further interwoven with colonialism in the phenomenon of settler colonialism. Here, the metropolitan power encourages or dispatches colonists to "settle" the territory. (In the British Empire, this marks the difference between settler colonies such as Canada, Australia, and New Zealand; and the Indian subcontinent, where just 25,000 Britons administered a vast realm.) Settler colonialism implies occupation of the land, and is often linked to genocide against indigenous peoples (and genocidally tinged rebellions against colonialism) (see Chapter 3). Settler colonies may also be born of expansionist and internal-colonialist projects close to the metropolitan core. The genocidal or near-genocidal campaigns against Ireland's and Scotland's native inhabitants from the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries,8 for example, prompted the migration under massive duress of millions of Irish and Scottish to the British settler colonies and the United States. Likewise, the drive against "asocial" elements and political dissidents resulted in the transportation of tens of thousands of prisoners to the Australian penal colonies.9 Ironically, it was sometimes representatives of these invaded and criminalized populations, thrust to the "sharp end" of colonial invasions, who proved energetic exponents and practitioners of genocide against indigenous populations.

Finally, we should expand upon the dimension of neo-colonialism. The concept is ambiguous and contested, but also useful. Under neo-colonialism, formal political rule is abandoned, while colonial structures of economic, political, and cultural control remain. The resulting exploitation may have genocidal consequences. Individual interventions with arguably genocidal consequences may be linked to prior colonial or quasi-colonial relationships (e.g., France in Rwanda before and during the 1994 genocide; Britain and the US in Iraq in 1991 and 2003). Many commentators also consider structural violence — that is, the destructive power residing in social and economic structures - to reflect neo-colonialism: the former colonial powers have maintained their hegemony over the formerly colonized ("Third") world, and immense disparities of wealth and well-being remain, producing "poorcide" in S.P. Udayakumar's framing (see p. 28).

The brief examination of genocide in classical and early modern times (Chapter 1) showed how frequently genocide accompanied imperial expansion and colonial­ism. In the modern era, the destruction of indigenous peoples has been a pervasive feature of these institutions, and is analyzed as a global phenomenon in Chapter 3. The communist tyrannies studied in Chapters 5 and 7 had a brazenly statist and imperial dimension, to be considered in its place. It remains here to provide an overview of some other key cases of genocide under colonial and imperial regimes in the past two centuries.



Imperial famines

"Famine crimes" or "genocidal famines" have increasingly drawn genocide scholars' attention.10 The most extensively studied cases are Stalin's USSR (Chapter 5), Mao's China, and Ethiopia under the Dergue regime. Recently the North Korean case, in which up to two million people may have starved to death while the government remained inert, has sparked outrage (also explored in Chapter 5). The literature has focused strongly on cases of famine under dictatorial and authoritarian regimes. Influenced by Nobel Prize-winning economist Amartya Sen, who demonstrated that "there has never been a famine in a functioning multiparty democracy,"11 this has produced groundbreaking case studies such as Robert Conquest's The Harvest of Sorrow (USSR) and Jasper Becker's Hungry Ghosts (China). The millions of dead in these catastrophes, from starvation and disease, form a substantial part of the indict­ment of communist regimes in the compendium, The Black Book of Communism.12

However, historian Mike Davis's Late Victorian Holocausts reminds us that liberal regimes have also been complicit in such crimes — extending far beyond the notorious example of the Great Hunger in 1840s Ireland.13 Davis's subject is the epic famines of the later nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, linked both to nature (the El Nino phenomenon) and state policy, which devastated peasant societies from China to Brazil. He shares Sen's conviction that famines are not blows of blind fate, but "social crises that represent the failures of particular economic and political systems." Specifically, he asserts that "imperial policies towatds starving 'subjects' were often the exact moral equivalents of bombs dropped from 18,000 feet."

India was largely free of famine under the Mogul emperors, but British admin­istrators refused to follow the Mogul example of laying in sufficient emergency grain stocks. When famine struck, they imposed free-market policies that were nothing more than a "mask for colonial genocide," according to Davis. They continued tuinous collections of tax arrears, evincing greater concern for India's balance of payments than for "the holocaust in lives." When the British did set up relief camps, they were work camps, which "provided less sustenance for hard labor than the infamous Buchenwald concentration camp and less than half of the modern caloric standard recommended for adult males by the Indian government." The death-toll in the famine of 1897-98 alone, including associated disease epidemics, may have exceeded eleven million. "Twelve to 16 million was the death toll commonly reported in the world press, which promptly nominated this the 'famine of the century' This dismal title, however, was almost immediately usurped by the even greater drought and deadlier famine of 1899-1902." In 1901, the leading British medical journal the Lancet suggested that "a conservative estimate of excess mortality in India in the previous decade . . . was 19 million," a total that "a number of historians . . . have accepted ... as an order-of-magnitude approximation for the combined mortality of the 1896-1902 crisis."14

Overall, Davis argued that market mechanisms imposed in colonial (e.g., India) and neo-colonial contexts (e.g., China and Brazil) inflicted massive excess mortality. "There is persuasive evidence that peasants and farm laborers became dramatically more pregnable to natural disaster after 1850 as their local economies were violently incorporated into the world market. . . . Commercialization went hand in hand with



Figure 2.1 "The Famine in India - Natives Waiting for Relief in Bangalore." Engraving in The Illustrated London News, 1877. In subjugated India and Ireland in the nineteenth century, British imperialists pioneered the "faminogenic" catastrophes of the modern period, with famine relief sacrificed to the laws of the market ot, in the Stalinist and Maoist cases, the drive for communist Utopia (see Chapter 5). In all these cases, the ruling regimes exported foodstuffs on a large scale throughout rhe famines.

Source: Scanned from the original October 20, 1877 issue of The Illustrated London News, in the author's collection.



pauperization."15 He explicitly linked colonial and neo-colonial relations to the economic structures and policies that devastated once-thriving economies, and produced the "Third World" of the post-colonial era.

The Congo "rubber terror"

Thanks to novelist Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, published early in the twentieth century, the murderous exploitation of the Congo by Belgium's King Leopold has attained almost mythic status.16 However, not until the publication of Adam Hochschild's King Leopold's Ghost, at the end of the last century, did contemporary audiences come to appreciate the scale of the destruction inflicted on the Congo, as well as the public outcry at the time that produced one of the first truly international campaigns for human rights.

Conrad's novella was based on a river voyage into the interior of the Congo, during which he witnessed what he called "the vilest scramble for loot that ever disfigured the history of human conscience and geographical exploration."17 The territory that became the so-called Congo Free State was, and remains, immense (see Map 9a. 1 in Box 9a). In 1874, King Leopold commissioned British explorer Henry Stanley to secure for the monarch a place in the imperial sun. By 1885, Leopold had established the Congo as his personal fief, free of oversight from the Belgian parliament. Ivory was the prize he first hungered for, then rubber as the pneumatic tire revolutionized road travel. To muster the forced labor {corvee) needed to supply these goods, Leopold's agents imposed a reign of terror on African populations.

The result was one of the most destructive and all-encompassing corvee institutions the world has known. It led to "a death toll of Holocaust dimensions," in Hochschild's estimation,18 such that "Leopold's African regime became a byword for exploitation and genocide."19 Male rubber tappers and porters were mercilessly exploited and driven to death. A Belgian politician, Edmond Picard, encountered a caravan of conscripts:

Incessantly, we met these porters . . . black, miserable, their only clothing a hor­rible dirty loincloth . . . most of them sickly, their strength sapped by exhaustion and inadequate food, which consisted of a handful of rice and stinking dried fish, pitiable walking caryatids . . . organised in a system of human transport, requisi­tioned by the State with its irresistible force publique [militia], delivered by chiefs whose slaves they are and who purloin their pay . . . dying on the road or, their journey ended, dying from the overwork in theif villages.20

The precipitous population decline during Leopold's rule remains astonishing. Hochschild accepted the conclusions of a Belgian government commission that "the population of the territory had 'been reduced by half.'" "In 1924," he added, "the population was reckoned at ten million, a figure confirmed by later counts. This would mean, according to the estimates, that during the Leopold period and its immediate aftermath the population of the territory dropped by approximately ten million people."21 During this time, the region was also swept by an epidemic of



Figure 2.2 Imperial genocide: the wealrh of the Congo, gatheted by forced labor, is siphoned off by Belgian King Leopold. Source: Scanned from Martin Ewans, European Atrocity, African Catastrophe. Original source unknown.

sleeping sickness, "one of the most disastrous plagues recorded in human history."22 However, as with indigenous peoples elsewhere, the impact of disease was exacerbated by slavery and privation, and vice versa: "The responsibility for this disaster is no less Leopold's because it was a compound one."23 And the demographic data presented by Hochschild demonstrated a shocking under-representation of adult males in the Congolese population, indicating that genocide claimed millions of lives.z* "Sifting such figures today is like sifting the ruins of an Auschwitz crema­torium," wrote Hochschild. "They do not tell you precise death tolls, but they reek of mass murder."25



The only bright side to this, "one of the most appalling slaughters known to have been brought about by human agency,"26 was an international protest movement, led by Joseph Conrad, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle - author of the Sherlock Holmes stories - and the Irishman Roger Casement. The Association spread across Europe and North America, and sponsored investigative exposes of Leopold's Congo.27 All of this increased pressure on King Leopold to subject his territory to outside oversight. Finally, in 1908, Leopold agreed to sell his enormous fief to the Belgian government. Subsequent parliamentary monitoring appears to have substantially reduced mortality, though the "rubber terror" only truly lapsed after the First World War.

Belgium remained the colonial power in the territory until 1960, when it handed over the Congo to the pro-Western dictator, Mobutu Sese Seko. Early in the twenty-first century, the Congo is again torn apart by genocide, amidst the most destructive military conflict since the Second World War - a grim echo of the killing that rent the region under Leopold's rule (see Box 9a).

The Japanese in East and Southeast Asia

Japanese imperialism, founded on invasions of Korea and Taiwan in the late nineteenth century, grew by leaps and bounds under the military regime estab­lished during the 1930s. Domestic persecution of communists and other political opponents merged with aggressive expansion. In 1931, the Japanese invaded the mineral-rich Chinese region of Manchuria, setting up the puppet state of Manchukuo the following year.

In 1937, Japan effectively launched the Second World War, invading China's eastern seaboard and key interior points. The campaign featured air attacks that killed tens of thousands of civilians and even more intensive atrocities by troops on the ground. The occupation of the Chinese capital, Nanjing, in December 1937 became a global byword for war crimes. Japanese forces slaughtered as many as 200,000 Chinese men of "battle age," and taped tens of thousands of women and children -often murdering and mutilating theit victims thereafter (see Chapter 13). "There are executions everywhere," wrote John Rabe, a German businessman who witnessed the atrocities of the "Rape of Nanjing," and worked indefatigably to save civilian lives (see p. 409). "You hear of nothing but rape. . . . The devastation the Japanese have wreaked here is almost beyond description."28 Over the course of the Japanese occupation (1937-45), "nearly 2,600,000 unarmed Chinese civilians" were killed, together with half a million to one million prisoners of war.29

In December 1941, Japan coordinated its surprise attack on the US Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor with a lightning invasion of Southeast Asia. This brought the Philippines, Malaya (peninsular Malaysia), Singapore, and Indonesia under its direct rule. (Satellite control was established in Indochina, in collusion with the Vichy French regime.) Large-scale summary killings of civilians, death marches of Asian and European populations, and atrocities against Allied prisoners-of-war all figured in the postwar war-crimes trials (Chapter 15). The Japanese also imposed a corvee labor system, one of the worst in modern history, throughout the occupied territories. Not only did the notorious Burma-Thailand railroad kill 16,000 of the 46-50,000 Allied



Figure 2.3 Furious at popular resistance to their conquests, Japanese forces used caprured Chinese prisoners-of-war as rargets for bayonet practice, while others stood and enjoyed the spectacle. As many as 200,000 Chinese men, and tens of thousands of women, were murdered during the "Rape of Nanjing" in 1937-38.

Source: .

Figure 2.4 Chinese American author Iris Chang revived the story of the Nanjing atrocities for contemporary readers with her powerful 1997 book, The Rape of Nanking. Tragically, Chang, who was plagued by depression, committed suicide in November 2004 ar the age of 36. A bronze sculprure of her is today found in rhe Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall in China (see http://en.wikipedia.otg/wiki/FiIedtis_chang.jpg).

Source: Jimmy Estimada/Courtesy Ying-Ying Chang/ www.i.

prisoners forced to work on it, but "as many as 100,000 of the 120,000 to 150,000 Asian forced laborers may have died . . . ."30 The trafficking of Asian women for prostitution (the so-called "comfort women") formed an integral part of this forced-labor system. Regionwide, the death-toll of corvee laborers probably approached, or even exceeded, one million. Both the "comfort women" and male forced laborers have in recent years petitioned the Japanese government for acknowledgment and material compensation, with some success but also much stonewalling (see Chapter 14).31

Like their Nazi counterparts, the Japanese believed themselves to be superior beings. Subject races were not considered "subhuman" in the Nazi fashion, but they were clearly regarded as inferior, and were usually assigned a helot status in the "Greater Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere." Japanese fantasies of facial supremacy also led to a Nazi-style preoccupation with genocidal technologies, reflected most notably in the biological watfare program and gruesome medical experiments. Unit 731 in Manchuria produced chemical and biological weapons that were tested on prisoners­



of-war and civilians, and deployed throughout the wat theater. In China, according to Japanese historian Yuki Tanaka,

In Zhejiang province, biological weapons were used six times between September 18 and October 7, 1940. . . . Around the same time 270 kilograms of typhoid, patatyphoid, cholera, and plague bacteria wete sent to Nanjing and central China for use by Japanese battalions on the battlefield. . . . After the outbreak of World War II, the Japanese continued to use biological weapons against the Chinese. They sprayed cholera, typhoid, plague, and dysentery pathogens in the Jinhua area of Zhejiang province in June and July 1942. ... It is [also] well known that Unit 731 used large numbers of Chinese people for experiments. Many Chinese who rebelled against the Japanese occupation were arrested and sent to Pingfan whete they became guinea pigs for Unit 731... . When they were being experimented on, the [subjects] were transferred Irom the main prison to individual cells where they were infected with particular pathogens by such means as injections or being given contaminated food or water. . . . After succumbing to the disease, the prisoners were usually dissected, and their bodies were then cremated within the compound.32

In an ironic outcome from which Nazi scientists also benefited, after the Second World War the participants in Unit 731 atrocities were granted immunity from prosecution — so long as they shared their knowledge of chemical and biological warfare, and the results of their atrocious experiments, with US authorities (see Chapter 15).33

The US in Indochina

With the possible exception of the French war to retain Algeria (1958-62), no imperial intervention in the twentieth century provoked as much dissent and political upheaval in the colonial power as the US's long war in Vietnam. And in the post-World War Two period, none was so destructive.

A French attempt in 1945-54 to reconquer Vietnam was defeated by a nationalist guerrilla movement under Ho Chi Minh and his militaty commander, Vo Nguyen Giap. The country was divided between a Chinese client regime in the North and a US client regime in the South. Under the Geneva agreements of 1954, this was supposed to be temporary. But recognizing that Ho would likely win nationwide elections scheduled for 1956, Ngo Dinh Diem's regime refused to hold them. After 1961, the US stepped up direct military intervention. In 1965, hundreds of thou­sands of US troops occupied the country to combat the South Vietnamese guerrillas (Viet Cong), as well as regular North Vietnamese forces infiltrating down the "Ho Chi Minh Trail" through southern Laos and eastern Cambodia.

About seven million tons of bombs and other munitions were dropped on North and (especially) South Vietnam during the course of the war. This was more than was dropped by all countries in all theaters of the Second World War. The bombing was combined with the creation of a network of "model villages" in the South Vietnamese countryside, kept under close US and South Vietnamese military observation.



Beyond these villages, essentially concentration camps, large swathes of the countryside were liable to be designated as "free-fire zones," in which anyone living was assumed to be an enemy. Populations who resisted evacuation risked annihilation from the air and massacre by US and South Vietnamese ground forces. The most infamous such event was the My Lai massacre - a four-hour-long rampage by US troops on March 16, 1968, in the village of Son My and its constituent hamlets of My Lai, My Khe, and Co Luy in Quang Ngai province. Infuriated by guerrilla attacks, US troops of Charlie Company, 1st Battalion slaughtered, raped, and wreaked mate­rial destruction.34 The My Lai memorial plaque today lists 504 victims. A handful of troops resisted orders to kill, and genuine rescuers emerged — most heroically Lt.-Col. Hugh Thompson, Jr., who witnessed the killing from his helicopter, landed, and interposed himself between fleeing villagers and their would-be murderers, ordering his men to fire on the US forces if they advanced (see pp. 407-09). An extensive official cover-up of the massacre was mounted, until investigative reporter Seymour Hersh blew the lid off the case in articles for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in November 1969.35 An investigation was launched, but only one perpetrator — Lt. William Calley — was convicted. After a couple of years of house arrest, he was pardoned by President Richard Nixon. Calley lived thereafter in obscurity, until he emerged in 2009 to publicly apologize for his crimes.36 Research by investigative reporters from the Toledo Blade and other publications has established that My Lai was no isolated incident. Rather, massacres were common for US forces fighting to "pacify" the south, after the Viet Cong/North Vietnamese "Tet Offensive" of 1968 rocked US popular support of the war to its foundations.37

Figure 2.5 The My Lai massacre of March 16, 1968, was the largest, but far from the only, genocidal massacte inflicted during the US imperial "pacification" of South Vietnam in 1968-69. Ronald K. Haeberle, an army photographer, captured this image of Vietnamese childten and women rounded up in My Lai hamlet, seconds before they were gunned down by US troops. According to an army publicist accompanying the photogtapher (LIFE, December 5, 1969), "Haeberle jumped in to take a picture of the group of women. The picture shows rhe thirteen-year-old girl hiding behind her mother, trying to button the top of het pyjamas. When they noticed Ron, they left off and turned away as if everything was normal. Then a soldier asked, 'Well, what'll we do with 'em?' 'Kill 'em,' another answered. I heard an M60 go off, a light machine-gun, and when we turned all of them and the kids with them were dead."

Source: Ronald K. Haeberle/US Army/Wikimedia Commons.



Figure 2.6 The irrigation ditch in My Lai hamlet whete 170 Vietnamese villagers were gathered and slaughrered by US soldiers, now part of the My Lai massacre memorial site and museum (see also Figute 14.2, p. 503).

Source: Author's photo, July 2009.

In 1970, Nixon widened the war, stepping up the "secret" bombing of neighboring Cambodia on a scale that is only now being recognized (and fueling the rise of the genocidal Khmer Rouge; see Chapter 7). Extensive areas of Laos, notably the Plain of Jars and the Bolaven Plateau, were subjected to saturation bombing that killed their inhabitants or terrorized them into flight. The bombing continued until 1973, when a peace agreement was signed and most US soldiers withdrew from South Vietnam. Two years later, North Vietnamese forces invaded and conquered South Vietnam.

The human cost of the war to the US was some 58,000 soldiets killed. In Indochina, the toll was catastrophic. Somewhere between two million and five million Indochinese died, mostly at the hands of the US and its allies. In addition, "the massive application of chemical warfare," aimed primarily at defoliating the countryside of forest cover in which guerrilla forces could hide, poisoned the soil and food chain.38 "The lingering effects of chemical warfare poisoning continue to plague the health of adult Vietnamese (and ex-GIs) while causing increased birth defects. Samples of soil, water, food and body fat of Vietnamese continue to the present day to teveal dangerously elevated levels of dioxin." An estimated "3.5



million landmines and 300,000 tons of unexploded ordnance [UXO]" still litter the countryside, killing "several thousand" Vietnamese every year — at least 40,000 since the war ended in 1975.39 Laos, too, is laced with UXO; hundreds of rural residents are killed and maimed annually, particularly younger children.40

The international revulsion that the Indochina war evoked led to the creation, in 1966, of an informal International War Crimes Tribunal under the aegis of the British philosopher Bertrand Russell. The Russell Tribunal panelists were "unanimous in finding the US guilty for using illegal weapons, maltreating prisoners of war and civilians, and aggressing against Laos." Most controversially, "there was a unanimous vote of guilty on the genocide charge."41 A leading figure in this "citizens' tribunal" (see Chapter 15) was the French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre, who wrote "On Genocide," an essay that made "a striking case for regarding the American war in Vietnam as genocide legally and conceptually."42 Those fighting the war, Sartre argued, were "living out the only possible relationship between an overindustrialized country and an underdeveloped country, that is to say, a genocidal relationship implemented through racism."43 Genocide scholar Leo Kuper likewise called the war genocidal, a verdict also rendered prima facie by the human rights and international law theorist, Richard Falk.44 Fresh revelations of the extent of the genocidal massacres in South Vietnam in 1968-69, and of the true scale of the bombing of Cambodia, will likely bolster such assessments.45

The Soviets in Afghanistan

Soviet intervention in Afghanistan was a continuation of the historic Russian drive for influence and control along the imperial periphery. Severely mauled by the Nazi invasion during the Second World War, the Soviets thereafter established authori­tarian police states in Eastern Europe, with forays beyond, notably in Asia and Africa.

Within the Soviet empite, governance sttategies varied. In Central and Eastern Europe, with the exception of postwar East Germany and the Hungarian uprising of 1956 (in which some 25,000 were killed), Soviet imperial power did not produce large-scale killing. Afghanistan was different. Years of growing Soviet influence culminated in the establishment of a Soviet client government in Kabul in April 1978. In 1979, a reign of terror inflicted by President Hafizullah Amin further destabilized Afghan society. Finally, in December 1979, 25,000 Soviet troops invaded to "restore stability." Amin, who had outlived his usefulness, was killed at the outset of the invasion, and replaced by a more compliant Soviet proxy, Babrak Karmal. Occupying forces rapidly swelled to around 85,000.

The occupation spawned an initially ragtag but, with US assistance, increasingly coherent Islamist-nationalist resistance, the mujahedin. Osama bin Laden began his trajectory as a foreign volunteer with the mujahedin, as did others who would later wage war on the West. The Soviets responded with collective atrocity. In "a ferocious scorched-earth campaign that combined the merciless destructiveness of Genghis Khan's Mongols with the calculated terrorism of Stalin,"46 the Soviets inflicted massive civilian destruction, recalling the worst US actions in Indochina. According to Afghanistan specialist Rosanne Klass,



Figure 2.7 Soviet troops round up young Afghan men in a countetinsutgency sweep in 1985. The fate of the men is unknown, but such sweeps were typically accompanied by harsh inrerrogation or torture, and widespread summary execution. Such measures are the norm when imperial powers seek, sometimes by genocidal means, to cow and subjugate a restive population (see Chapter 13). The Soviets repeated them in the campaign against the population of Chechnya in the 1990s and 2000s (Box 5a). In central respects, Russia's wars in Chechnya were racist acts of vengeance against Muslim populations, fueled by the humiliating defeat in Afghanistan. As many as two million people were killed during the decade-long Soviet occupation of the country (1979-89).

Source: Wikimedia Commons.

From January 1980 on . . . the Soviets made genocide a coherent, systematic policy. . . . Soviet and local communist forces targeted the rural civilian popu­lation, not the armed resistance. . . . Operational patterns (particularly air attacks) indicated a systematic effort to depopulate selected ateas on an ethnic basis. . . . Overall Soviet strategy focused on emptying out the predominantly Pashtun areas, thereby altering the ethnic makeup of Afghanistan. . . . Thousands of very young children were (often forcibly) sent to the USSR and Eastern Europe for ten years for preparatory indoctrination; few if any have returned.

Air attacks through the southern and eastern provinces methodically killed hundreds of thousands and resulted in the mass exodus of millions, creating a depopulated no-man's-land in large areas along the Afghanistan—Pakistan border. In addition to the bombings, which reached their peak in 1986, the Soviets used terror — chemical weapons, weapons targeting children, gruesome localized atroc­ities, and the destruction of crops, orchards, animals, food supplies, and water sources - to empty out whole districts.47



Aerial bombing never assumed the saturation levels of Indochina. But once the Soviets realized that a genuinely popular insurgency had taken root, aerial attacks became collective and indiscriminate in their targeting. A former Soviet fighter pilot, Alexander Rutskoi, related during a conversation on the war in Chechnya in the 1990s (Box 5a) his view "that Russia should use the same approach he had employed in Afghanistan: A kishlak [village] fires at us and kills someone. I send a couple of planes and there is nothing left of the kishlak. After I've burned a couple of kishlaks they stop shooting.'"48 As US atrocities in Vietnam mirrored the "Indian wars" of the past,49 there are clear echoes in the Afghanistan campaign of Russia's ruthless wars of imperial expansion against Muslim minorities in the nineteenth century.

Ground-level counterinsurgency campaigns in Vietnam produced genocidal massacres at My Lai and elsewhere. Much the same occurred in the Soviets' Afghan war, in which the imperial strategy, according to Jeri Laber and Barnett Rubin, was "to spread terror in the countryside so that villagers will either be afraid to assist the resistance fighters who depend on them for food and shelter or be forced to leave." Benjamin Valentino described the mass-murderous consequences:

Executions often were carried out with extreme savagery and in full public view, presumably to further intimidate the population. Since the Soviets generally lacked the information necessary to identify guerrilla supporters on an individual basis, they often slaughtered entire villages, including women and children. Two defec­tors from the Soviet army claimed that these atrocities were not merely the actions of out-of-control ttoops. In a typical operation, rather, "an officer decides to have a village searched to see if there are any rebels in it. . . . What usually happens is we found a cartridge or a bullet. The officers said: 'This is a bandit village; it must be destroyed.'. . . The men and young men are usually shot right where they are. And the women, what they do is try to kill them with grenades."50

"Conservative estimates put Afghan deaths at 1.25 million, or 9 percent of the population, with another three-quarters of a million wounded."51 Some five million Afghans fled to Pakistan and Iran - one of the largest refugee flows in history.52

The Afghanistan—Vietnam comparison explored in these passages has often been advanced, but sometimes with attention to alleged differences between the two. In a well-known article for the DenverJournal of International Law and Policy, sociologist Helen Fein undertook to examine whether either or both cases constituted genocide. Her verdict on Vietnam was that while "repeated and substantive charges of war crimes . . . appear well-founded," the charge of "genocide . . . simply [is] not sup­ported by the acts cited." In the Soviet case, however, Fein catalogued "repeated and substantive charges of'depopulation,' massacre, deliberate injury, forced transfer of the children of Afghanis, and occasional charges of genocide." Combined, they "sustained] a prima facie charge of genocide as well as charges of war crimes."53

One may disagree with Fein's gentler judgment about US conduct in Indochina (which featured bombing on a scale and of an intensity never matched in Afghanistan, for example). But it is hard to dispute the validity of the genocide framework for this instance of Soviet imperialism.




Empires are most destructive in their waxing and waning phases. The onset of empire is often marked by vigorous imperial violence, much of which derives from — and is sometimes a desperate response to — the resistance of indigenous populations which may remain unvanquished, even against all technological and epidemiological odds.

Once consolidated, however, empires probably tend toward at least the measure of accommodation necessary for stable exploitation - the physical preservation of subject peoples, sometimes even their flourishing. In his rich study of the rise and decline of empires, and the skein of genocide woven through it, Mark Levene argued that "colonial genocides made no obvious sense," because empires have "inbuilt, usually self-interested and self-regulatory mechanisms for the avoidance of exter­minatory conflict with subject peoples ..." These include "political policies and administrative practices" that "at least allowjed] their diverse peoples to co-exist with one another, often even where this involved widely divergent cultures, not to mention social and economic habits."54

When that order breaks down, and especially when multiethnic empires begin to dissolve in intercommunal strife, genocide rears anew. Now it is fueled and exacer­bated by fear, even terror, at the encirclement, besieging, and looming collapse of the imperial order. When the heart of the empire is under threat of conquest, parti­tion, and extinction, as with Constantinople and Vienna during the waning days of the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian empires, the imperial backlash may be espe­cially violent. When those empires experienced "relatively stable conditions" and "did not feel threatened," "ethnographic diversity . . . remained tenable." But "take away this stability and the most immediate and likely effect was a much more pronouncedly aggressive state ethnic policy with particularly dire consequences . . . "55

An essential element here is the perception of diminution, humiliation, and dispossession. From a psychopathological perspective, no context is more toxic, no fuel more combustible. We consider fear and humiliation more closely - along with the subaltern desires for vengeance that they engender - in Chapter 10's discussion of psychological perspectives on genocide.

These tendencies also shape the aftermath of empire - sometimes for centuries. Memories of past dispossessions become inextricably bound up with a sense of victimization, and the contemporary need for violent redress of perceived wrongs. For Levene, this is one of the features that may partly explain a specifically German Sonderweg (special path) to the Holocaust:

The German example may help identify a particular type of state with the potentiality for genocide not so much on the basis of whether it is labeled as authoritarian, revolutionary, ethnically stratified or whatevet ... so much as one which suffers from what one might call a chronic 'strong' state—'weak' state syndrome. . . . Such states seem to have what one might only describe as a collective inferiority complex: that is, of a conviction shared by policy makers, opinion formers and possibly significant sections of their general population that



the position which they believe ought to be theirs in terms of international status is forever being denied or blocked off to them.56

This mentality pervaded not only Nazi actions, but the Ottoman empire's destruction of its Christian minorities (Chapter 5), the Khmer Rouge genocide in Cambodia in the 1970s (Chapter 7), and the Serb victimization narrative that fuelled the Bosnian genocide of the 1990s (Chapter 8).57 A final example displaying this trajectory of genocidal ascent and genocidal decline is the Russian/Soviet/Chechen experience (Chapter 5 and Box 5a). The frequently exterminatory violence of tsarist Russia's conquest of the Caucasus, from the late 1820s to the 1860s, was followed by a measure of stability in the final decades of the tsarist empire, and sporadic stability - to the extent that any population enjoyed it - under Soviet and early Stalinist rule. But when the Stalinist regime felt itself mortally threatened in 1941-42, particularly in the peripheral areas conquered by its tsarist forebears, the uprooting was again epic in scale and the violence again mass-murderous, for Chechens and for other minority peoples besides. And the tendency can be traced to the contemporary period, with the wars-unto-genocide launched by the Yeltsin and Putin regimes against rebellious Chechnya (Box 5a). The pathological excesses of the violence reflect a post-Soviet Russia reduced and vulnerable, stripped of its quasi-colonies in eastern Europe and central Asia, and obsessed with holding onto minority-dominated territories on the fringes of the shrunken empire.


War's special trick is to push to incandescence the imaginaire of fear ... It is "them" or "us." In the name of this security dilemma, everything becomes justifiable.

Jacques Semelin

If state formation, imperialism, war, and social revolution are genocide's "four horsemen," then war and genocide might be described as Siamese twins. The intimate bond between the two is evident from the twentieth-century record alone. All three of the century's "classic" genocides — against Armenians in Turkey, Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe, and Tutsis in Rwanda — occurred in a context of civil and/or international war. The wartime context is only a necessary, not a sufficient, expla­nation; but as historian Christopher Fettweis asked of the Jewish Holocaust, "Should one be surprised that the most destructive war in history was accompanied by one of the most dramatic instances of violence against civilians?"58 A perceptive scholar of the relationship, Martin Shaw, considered genocide to be an offshoot of "degenerate" warfare, with its large-scale targeting of civilian populations.59

The line between "legitimate" war and genocide is hard to draw. Still, most geno­cide scholars acknowledge intimate connections between the two, and many rank war as genocide's greatest single enabling factor. "Thank God that now, during wartime, we have a whole series of opportunities that would be closed off to us in peacetime," Nazi leader Joseph Goebbels exulted in his diary in March 1942, as the machinery of full-scale Holocaust geared up around him.60




Figure 2.8 War seems always to have been waged, and glorified, in human history. It often assumes a genocidal character, physically annihilating and supplanting "enemy" populations. A frieze from the ruins of the ninth-century Angkot civilization in Cambodia vividly depicts the violence of much ptemodern warmakine.


Source: Courtesy Griselda Ramfrez.


Figure 2.9 The collective sttuggle and sacrifice of war serve to bolster intracommunal bonds and heighten fear and suspicion of designated enemies. Through acts of memorialization, wars bind new generarions to nationalist projects. Nowhere is this strategy more pivotal than in post-Soviet Russia, whete the epic losses to the Nazis in World War Two (see Box 6a) nurture a sense of national pride and solidarity, and countet ethnic and class divisions. Here, visitors entet a museum exhibition on the war in Kazan, capital of Tatarsran, Russian Federation (for more on this unique city, see pp. 584—85).

Source: Author's photo, May 2008.


What are these points of connection between war and genocide?

War accustoms a society to violence. Large portions of the male population may be drawn into institutions, the prime purpose of which is to inflict violence. Much of the remaining population is cast in various productive and reproductive roles. Nearly all adults are therefore complicit in the war machine. The boundaries between legality and criminality erode. Psychological and social inhibitions diminish, often to be replaced by blood-lust.



War increases the quotient of fear and hatred in a society. "War creates a type of mass psychosis to which societies at peace cannot relate."61 Both soldiers and civilians live in dread of death. Propaganda emphasizes the "traitor within": "Know that the person whose throat you do not cut now will be the one who will cut yours," warned Hutu intellectual Ferdinand Nahimana before the outbreak of the Rwandan genocide against Tutsis and modet ate Hutus in 1994.62 Fear fuels hatred of the one allegedly responsible for the fear, and dependence on the authority that pledges deliverance from the threat. The ideology of mili­tarism inculcates "a condition of slavish docility" and "stolid passivity" throughout the militarized society.63 Societies grow more receptive to state vigilance and violence, as well as to suspensions of legal and constitutional safeguards. Dissidence threatens unity and stability, and provokes widespread loathing and repression.

War eases genocidal logistics. With the unified command of society and economy, it is easier to mobilize resources for genocide. State power is increasingly devoted to inflicting mass violence. (Indeed, the state itself, "evolving as it did within the crucible of endless rounds of combat, served initially as a more efficient apparatus to fight wars.")64 For example, the wartime marshalling of rail and freight infrastructure was essential to the "efficient" extermination of millions of Jews, and others, in the Nazi death camps. Much of that infrastructure was built and/or maintained by forced laborers captured as spoils, another regular phenomenon in wartime.

War provides a smokescreen for genocide.65"That's war" becomes the excuse for extermination. Ttaditional sources of information, communi­cation, and denunciation are foreclosed or rigidly controlled. "Journalism is highly restricted, and military censorship prevents the investigation of reported atrocities. The minds of nations and of the international community ate on other issues in time of war."66

War fuels intracommunal solidarity and inter-communal enmity. Many who experienced the wars of the twentieth century recalled them with mingled pain and pleasure. Few had ever before considered themselves citizens swept up in a com­mon cause. Most soldiers experienced "a new kind of community held together by common danger and a common goal,"67 which forged the most enduring friendships of their lives. In general, war "exaggerates nationalistic impulses as populations come together under outside threats. . . . During conflict group identities are strengthened as the


Figure 2.10 Wartime propaganda often dehumanizes the enemy, promoting fear and hatred. A US recruiting postet ftom World War One (adapting an image previously used in Britain) depicts Germany as a slavering ape coming ashore in America, wielding a club labeled "Kultur" (culture), an innocent maiden (Lady Liberty?) crooked in his arm.

Source: H.R. Hopps (artist)/Wikimedia Commons.



gap between 'us' and 'them' is magnified, and individuals increasingly emphasize their solidarity with the thteatened group."68 As psychologist David Barash put it succinctly: "In enmity, there is unity."69 "What is France if not as defined against England or Germany? What is Serbia if not as defined against Germany or Croatia?"70 Solidarity may coalesce around a dominant ethnicity within the society, prompting the anathematizing of Other-identified minorities.

War magnifies humanitarian crisis. Refugee flows — whether of internally or internationally displaced peoples - may destabilize the society at war, and others around it. War complicates or prevents the provision of humanitarian assistance. Millions may starve to death beyond the reach of aid agencies, as in Congo's messy and multifaceted wars (Box 9a). "New wars" (see Chapter 12) may come to feed on war-related humanitarian assistance, which can also buttress genocidally inclined state authorities, as in Rwanda in the early 1990s.71

War stokes grievances and a desire for revenge. Large numbers of Serbs were spurred to support Slobodan Milosevic's ultranationalist option by the collective memory of genocide committed against Serbs during World War Two. Fewer Germans would have supported Hitler or the Nazis (Chapter 6) without an abiding sense of grievance generated by the 1919 Versailles Treaty. Cambodia's Khmer Rouge (Chapter 7) would have enjoyed less popular support if years of American bombing had not terrorized, enraged, and displaced much of the country's peasant population.

It would be comforting to think that democratic societies are immune to these responses. Yet when liberal societies are under stress, as during the present "war on terror," they can slide toward genocidal mindsets, motifs and sometimes policies. In the first edition of this book, I cited comments on a rightwing blog (The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler) posted in the wake of the May 2004 execution, by slow decapitation, of an American journalist in Iraq. I suggested that the statements, of the exterminate-all-the-brutes variety, "exposed a brazenly genocidal discourse."72 In November 2009, the UK Guardian reported that after the shooting rampage at Fort Hood, Texas, by an American Muslim army officer who shouted "Allahu Akhbar!" ("God is great!" in Arabic) as he fired, websites "filled with hate mail questioning [US Muslims'] loyalty."73 I suspected that the Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler might have something to say on the matter, and indeed it did. Its contributors were also vocal about a news item that followed immediately after Major Nadil Malik Hasan's atrocity at Fort Hood: the announcement that accused al-Qaeda mastermind Khaled Sheik Muhammed would be tried for the 9/11 attack (see pp. 45-47) in New York City, the main attack site. A quite representative sample of the posted comments follows (there were also a few tentatively liberal responses):

Define "win" [in the "war on terror"]? Okay, how's this: Make the enemy . . . fear you at a genetic level and never ever want to go anywhere near you for a thousand years or more. You use Genghis Khan level brutality. Men, women, children, young, old, sick or well, you erase them. You scrape the Earth and salt it. They want to go to allah, you help them in every way possible. They behead a journalist, we destroy a city. And by destroy I mean down to the cockroaches in their sewers. . . . Absolute total decimation. That is the only thing these barbarians truly understand.

(DJ Allyn, November 16, 2009)



Extermination, root and branch, to the third generation. Plow and salt the gtound followed by the blood of swine. . . . They [Muslims] are a festering pustule every­where they go. They will not "assimilate," not ever. They are instructed by the unHoly Quran to convert, or destroy, the whole world. There is no such thing as a permanent peace treaty with them . . .

(LC Jon Imperial Hunter, November 11 and 12, 2009)

I honestly do not see any other option to deal with these mutant freaks save overwhelming, make-them-shit-the-diapers-on-both-ends violence. Coddling them does not work. They are using our own morality against us. . . . Sometimes, the only MORAL and RIGHT thing to do is to unleash the beast. ... It is time to stand up to them and kick their ass, like it was done to the filthy Nazis.

(Princess Natasha, November 16, 2009)

As for the shitstain in question [Major Hasan]. He again proves my point that American Muslims are Muslims first, and Americans a distant second. They should all be deported back to whatever goat-molesting shithole they came from.

(LC Beaker, November 6, 2009)74

To be fair to impressively multicultural America (see further discussion in Chapter 16), there were no serious acts of vigilante violence against Muslims in the aftermath of either Major Hasan's atrocity or the New York trial announcement - indeed, notably few after 9/11. But the rhetoric just cited reminds us of the genocidal potential lurking in all societies. The comments are representative and generic; there is nothing uniquely American about them. They are not even especially sadistic, compared to other examples that could be cited from the same "discussion" on the same website. Some posts have a timeless air, reminiscent of the proclamations of Assyrian kings or Mongol emperors as they prepared to embark on genocidal war and empire-building. (Note the references to classical precedents - Genghis Khan; the ancient sowing of destroyed cities with salt.)

But if something in war's extremism is timeless, something is also distinctively modern, and this merits exploration.

The First World War and the dawn of industrial death

In July 1916, my grandfather, Alfred George Jones (1885-1949), a British volunteer soldier, arrived on the Somme farmlands of the western front in France. This terrain had just witnessed the most massive and disastrous Allied offensive of the First World War. On July 1, commemorated as the "Black Day" of the British Army, an offensive by 100,000 troops produced 60,000 Allied casualties in a single day, including 20,000 killed. The image of British troops walking at a parade-ground pace, bayonets fixed, across the gently rolling landscapes of the Somme, and directly into German machine-gun fire, is iconic: "the Somme marked the end of an age of vital optimism in British life that has never been recovered"75 (see Figures 2.11 and 2.12).



Figure 2.11 Alfred George Jones (1885-1949), rhe author's grandfather, a Brirish First World War vereran. The photo appears to have been taken shortly after he volunteered for service, in time to be drawn into the maelstrom of the Battle of the Somme in July 1916.

Source: Author's collection.

Figure 2.12 An iconic image of the twentieth century: soldiets go "over the top" at the Battle of the Somme on July 1, 1916 — the "Black Day of the British Army." The soldier at righr has already been shot and fallen into the barbed wire of the Allied trenchline. Nearly a century later, the Somme still symbolizes the futility of modern war, and the impersonal, indusrrialized mass killing that would reach irs apogee with the Nazi Holocaust (see Chapter 6 and Box 6a).

Source: Imperial War Museum, London.

My grandfather was thrown into the meat-grinder that followed, which claimed 630,000 Allied casualties and a similar number of Germans over four-and-a-half months. A sapper in the Royal Engineers, he was blown up and buried for three days by an artillery shell in "no man's land" (a term that has since become a metaphor of the social and cultural dislocation wrought by the First World War). He was discovered by chance. Shell-shocked, he was shipped to England to convalesce. The experience triggered epileptic attacks that haunted him to the end of his days; but he survived to father my father. Thus, for better or worse, you hold this book in your hands because someone stumbled across my grandfather in no man's land nearly a century ago, during the definitive war of modern times.76

The crisis caused by the "Great War" derived from its combination of industrial technology and physical immobility. As millions of tons of munitions were unleashed, soldiers coweted in ttenches that trembled or collapsed from the bombardments, and that between assaults were a wasteland of mud, rats, and corpses. Ten million soldiers died on all sides — a previously unimaginable figure, and one that left a gaping and traumatic hole where a generation of young men should have been. For sociologist Martin Shaw,

The slaughter of the trenches was in many ways the definitive experience of mod­ern mass killing, seminal to virtually all the mass killing activities of the twentieth century. The massacre of conscripts was a starting-point for the development of each of the other strands. As the soldier-victims were mown down in their



hundreds of thousands in the Somme and elsewhere, they provided a spectacle of mass death that set the tone for a century. . . . All the main paradigms of twentieth-century death were already visible in this first great phase of total war.77

Adolf Hitler spent four years in the trenches of the western front (see Figure 2.13). He had been swept up in nationalist euphoria at the war's outbreak — there is a photograph of a Munich crowd celebrating the declaration of war, in which Hitler's face may be seen, rapt with enthusiasm. As a soldier, he fought bravely, receiving the Iron Cross Second Class. He was nearly killed in an Allied gas attack that left him blind and hospitalized - the prone, powerless position in which he first heard of the "humiliating" armistice Germany had accepted. (For more on genocide and humilia­tion, see Chapter 10.) In the war's aftermath, Hitler joined millions of demobilized soldiers sttuggling to find a place in postwar society. His war-fueled alienation, and his nostalgic longing for the solidarity and comradeship of the trenches, marked him for life.

The Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, which spawned large-scale killing under Vladimir Lenin and epic slaughter under Joseph Stalin (Chapter 5), is inconceivable

Figure 2.13 The failed Austrian arrist Adolf Hitler volunteered to fight in World War One, and discovered his destiny. He is pictured (at left) with fellow soldiers of Germany's 16rh Bavarian Unit. Hitler won honors for bravery and was incapacitated in a gas attack, receiving the news ot Getmany's surrender in 1918 as he lay prone on his hospital bed. The experience - rhe intensity of "total war," the camaraderie and solidarity of the front lines, rhe humiliation of injury and surrender - stayed with Hitlet for the rest of his life.

Source: The William Bremen Jewish Heritage Museum, Atlanta, GA.



without the trauma of the war. The conflict also directly sparked genocide against the Christian minorities of the Ottoman realm (see Chapter 4). The genocide was carried out on the grounds of military "self-defense" against minority groups accused of seeking to subvert the Ottoman state, in alliance with a historic enemy (Russia). Genocidal logistics, particularly transport, wete greatly facilitated by the requisites of wartime emergency.

The Second World War and the "barbarization of warfare"

The European theater of the Second World War consisted of two quite different conflicts. In the west, Nazi occupation authorities were more disciplined and less brutal, though not where Jews or partisans were concerned. In the east, and in the Balkans to the south, crimes against humanity were the norm. Genocide featured prominently among them.

The heart of the eastern war was primarily the struggle between Nazi-led forces and the Soviet people.-8 Soviet armies were dealt a massive blow by the German Blitzkrieg (lightning-war) of June to December 1941, which pushed all the way to the suburbs of Moscow. There ensued a titanic struggle between two totalitarian systems - the largest and most destructive military conflict in history. For Hitler, according to historian Omer Bartov, it was from the start "an ideological war of extermination and enslavement":

Its goal was to wipe out the Soviet state, to enslave the Russian people after debilitating them by famine and all other forms of deprivation, systematically to murder all "biological" and political enemies of Nazism, such as the Jews, the Gypsies [Roma], members of the Communist Party, intellectuals, and so forth, and finally to turn western Russia into a Getman paradise of "Aryan" colonizers served by hordes of Slav helots.73

Reflecting this racial animus and political extremism, the restraints that generally governed German troops in the West - the preservation of prisoners-of-war, a degree of respect for civilian lives and property — were abandoned from the outset. "This struggle must have as its aim the demolition of present Russia and must therefore be conducted with unprecedented severity," declared Panzer Group Colonel-General Hoepner before the invasion. "Both the planning and the execution of every battle must be dictated by an iron will to bring about a merciless, total annihilation of the enemy. Particularly no mercy should be shown toward the carriers of the present Russian-Bolshevik system."80

The result was a "demodernization" of the eastern front from 1941 to 1945, and a concomitant "barbarization of warfare," to cite historian Omer Bartov's term. Amidst physical ttavails, primitive conditions, and endless harassment by partisans, troops turned readily to atrocity. They were granted a "license to murder disarmed soldiers and defenseless civilians," and often carried out the task with an indiscrim­inate enthusiasm that transported them beyond the limited controls established by the army.



The Soviet stance towatds the German invader could also be blood-curdling. The poet Ilya Ehrenburg penned a leaflet for circulation among Soviet frontline troops titled simply, "Kill": "The Germans are not human beings. From now on the word 'German' is for us the worst imaginable curse. . . . We shall kill. If you have not killed at least one German a day, you have wasted that day."81

Thus conditioned, when Soviet troops reached German soil in East Prussia they unleashed a campaign of mass rape, murder, and terror against German civilians, who were overwhelmingly children and women. The campaign of gang rape, which Stalin nototiously dismissed as the Soviet soldier "having fun with a woman," is seared into the German collective memory.82 As many as two million German women were sexually assaulted: "it was not untypical fot Soviet troops to rape every female over the age of twelve or thirteen in a village, killing many in the process."83 However, whatever else may be said, Soviet ideology lacked a strong racist component. Perhaps as a result, after months of rape and killing, the regime finally imposed on the Soviet client-state of East Germany was much less malevolent a "new order" than Slavs experienced under Nazi rule.

Barbarization was also evident in the war in the Pacific, which pitted the US, UK, China, and their allies against Japanese occupation forces. In his War Without Mercy, historian John Dower examined the ptocesses of mutual demonization and bestialization by the US and Japanese polities. These processes both conditioned and reflected the broader popular hostility in wattime. The American public's view of the Japanese enemy was conveyed in a poll taken in December 1944, in which, according to Gary Bass, "33 percent of Americans wanted to destroy Japan as a country after the war, 28 percent wanted to supetvise and control Japan - and fully 13 percent wanted to kill ^//Japanese people."84Among soldiers consulted in both the Pacific and European theatres in 1943-44, between 42 percent (Pacific) and 67 percent (Europe) considered "wiping out the whole Japanese nation" as the most desirable option.85


It is on a blank page that the most beautiful poems are written.

Mao Zedong, Chinese revolutionary leader

Revolutions are sudden, far-reaching, and generally violent transformations of a political order. Social revolutions, which go beyond a change of political regime to encompass transformations of the underlying class structure, are particularly wrenching.

Beginning with the English Civil War of 1648, the American Revolution of 1776, and the French Revolution of 1789, the modern era has witnessed an escalating series of such tfansformations. Revolution has been closely linked to struggles for national independence, as well as to attempts to engineet fundamental changes in the social order. The uprisings against the crumbling Ottoman Empire in the early twentieth century provided the template for the century's national liberation struggles. These coalesced as a comprehensive movement for decolonization following the Second World War.



The Soviet Revolution of 1917, which grew out of the chaos and privation of the First World War, epitomized the Marxist-Leninist variant of social-revolutionary strategy. This strategy viewed "all history [as] the history of class struggle" (to cite Marx and Engels's Communist Manifesto). Under the influence of Vladimir Lenin, it stressed the role of a vanguard party in dragging the workers and peasants to liberation, kicking and screaming if necessary (as it indeed proved to be).86 Social-revolutionary struggle in the early part of the twentieth century also took a fascist form, as in Mussolini's Italy and Hitler's Germany.87 Fascism found its shock troops among workers and the lumpenproletariat (lowet social orders and riffraff). Its peasant following was also considetable. Nevertheless, its base resided in the lower-middle class, and featured an alliance — or marriage of convenience — with traditional, conservative sectors.

Both communist and fascist variants of revolution are highly militarized. This reflects the clandestine organizing and cell-based struggle of revolutionary sttategy, as well as the need to crush counter-revolutionary opposition before, during, and after the revolution. It also attests to the conviction of some revolutionaries that the world should share in their victory, or be subjugated by it. As Martin Shaw noted,

revolution itself. . . increasingly took the form of war, particularly guerrilla war. . . Revolutionaries pursued armed struggle not as a conclusion to political struggle, but as a central means of that struggle from the outset. Likewise, established power has used force not merely to defeat open insurrection, but to stamp out revolu­tionary forces and terrorize their actual or potential social supporters. As revolution became atmed struggle, counter-revolution became counter-insurgency. In this sense thete has been a radical change in the character of many revolutionary processes.88

Research into the Turkish and Nazi revolutions produced a key work of comparative genocide studies, political scientist Robert Melson's Revolution and Genocide (1996), which summarized the linkage as follows:

1. Revolutions created the conditions for genocidal movements to come to power.

2. Revolutions made possible the imposition of radical ideologies and new orders that legitimated genocide.

3. The social mobilization of low status or despised groups [e.g., in struggles for national liberation] helped to make them targets of genocide.

4. Revolutions leading to wars facilitated the implementation of genocide as a policy of the state.89

While revolution, especially social revolution, may take a genocidal form, so too may counter-revolution. This book contains numerous instances of revolutions that spawned genocides (Turkey's against Christian minorities, Lenin's and Stalin's terrors, the Nazis, the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, "Hutu Power" in Rwanda). Yet it includes even more cases in which colonial and contemporary state authorities sought to stamp out "revolutionary" thteats through genocide. The Germans in Southwest



Africa (Chapter 2), the Chinese in Tibet (Chapter 5), West Pakistan in East Pakistan/ Bangladesh (Box 8a), Serbia in Kosovo, Russia in Chechnya (Box 5a), and Sudan in Darfur (Box 9a) - all fit the pattern, as does the Guatemalan army's rampage against Mayan Indians in the 1970s and 1980s (Box 3a). In all cases, once war is unleashed, the radicalization and extremism of organized mass violence, described previously, come to dominate the equation.


Total war is no longer only between all members of one national community and all those of another: it is also total because it will very likely set the whole world up in flames.

Jean-Paul Sartre, On Genocide

As revolutions in the social and political sphere represent dramatic irruptions of new actors and social forces, so technological revolutions transform the world and human history. This was the case prior to the First World War, when scientific knowledge, wedded to an industrial base, facilitated the mass slaughter of 1914-18. An even more portentous transformation was the nuclear revolution — the discovery that the split­ting (and later the fusion) of atoms could unleash unprecedented energy, and could be directed towards military destruction as well as peaceful ends. Atomic bombs had the power to render conventional weapons obsolete, while "the destructive power of the hydrogen bomb was as revolutionary in comparison with the atomic bomb as was the latter to conventional weaponry."90

The invention of nuclear weapons, first (and fortunately last) used in war at Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, transformed civilization to its very roots. "In a real way we all lead something of a 'double life,'" wrote psychologists Robert Jay Lifton and Eric Markusen. "We are aware at some level that in a moment we and everyone and everything we have ever touched or loved could be annihilated, and yet we go about our ordinary routines as though no such thteat exists."91 In his classic cry for peace, social critic Jonathan Schell described The Fate of the Earth as being "poised on a hair trigger, waiting for the 'button' to be 'pushed' by some misguided or deranged human being or for some faulty computer chip to send out the instruc­tion to fire. That so much should be balanced on so fine a point... is a fact against which belief rebels."92

Lifton and Markusen compared the mindset of Nazi leaders and technocrats with those managing nuclear armories today. Both cultures reflected deep, sometimes hysterical preoccupations with "national security," which could be employed to depict one's own acts of aggression as pre-emptive. Both involved professionals whose specialization and distancing from the actuality of destruction helped them to inflict or prepare to inflict holocaust. A dry, euphemistic language rendered atrocity banal. Both mindsets accepted megadeath as necessary:

With [nuclear] deterrence, there is the assumption that we must be prepared to kill hundreds of millions of people in order to prevent large-scale killing, to cure



the world of genocide. With the Nazis, the assumption was that killing all Jews was a way of curing not only the Aryan race but all humankind. Involvement in a therapeutic mission helps block out feelings of the deaths one is or may be inflicting.93

Whatever the parallels, the immensity of modern nuclear weapons' destructive power was beyond Hitler's wildest fantasies. Scholars coined the term "omnicide" — total killing — to describe the extinction that nuclear arms could impose: not only on humans, but on the global ecosystem and all complex life forms, with the possible exception of the cockroach. Nuclear weapons are the one threat that can make past and present genocides seem small.

Younger readers of this book may find such comments melodramatic. They will lack direct memories of the "balance of terror" and the (il)logic of "mutually assured destruction" that pervaded the Cold Wat. These spawned a degree of fear and mass psychosis that marked for life many of those who lived under it, including myself. Antinuclear sentiment sparked moves towards a prohibition regime (see Chapter 12), built around arms control treaties between the superpowers and monitoring the peaceful use of nuclear energy. This left the situation still extremely volatile, as populations across the Western world recognized in the 1980s: they staged the largest protest demonstrations in postwar European and North American history.

Figure 2.14 Another iconic image: the mushroom cloud of the first atomic bomb ever used against human beings; Hiroshima, Japan, August 6, 1945.

Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Figure 2.15 A victim of the atomic blast at Hiroshima, her skin burned in the pattern of the kimono she was wealing at the time of the explosion.

Source: Wikimedia Commons.



Since that time, immediate tensions have subsided. Few today feel themselves under the perpetual shadow of the mushroom cloud; but, arguably, this reflects no diminution of the threat. Thousands of missiles remain in the armories of the major nuclear powers - enough to destroy the world many times over. While a number of nuclear or proto-nuclear powers have abandoned their programs (South Africa, several former Soviet republics, Brazil, Argentina), other states have joined the nuclear club, including India, Pakistan, and North Korea. At least one "conflict dyad" seems capable of sparking a nuclear holocaust on short notice: that of India and Pakistan. These countries have fought four wars since 1947, and seemed poised for a fifth as recently as 2001.

In another way, too, the nuclear threat has multiplied, despite promising recent developments in the Russian—American relationship.94 The Soviet collapse left thou­sands of missiles in vatying states of decay, and often poorly guarded.95 They made attractive targets for mafiosi and impoverished military officers seeking the ultimate black-matket payoff. The client might be a rogue state or tetrorist movement that would have little compunction about using its prize against enemies of "infidels." The next chapter of the nuclear saga thus femains to be written. It is possible that it will be a genocidal, even omnicidal one.


Omer Bartov, Hitler's Army: Soldiers, Nazis, and War in the Third Reich. New Yotk: Oxford Univetsity Press, 1992. Brief, seminal study; see also Baftov's The Eastern Front, 1941-45.

Iris Chang, The Rape of Nanking. New York: Penguin, 1998. Account of Japan's genocidal massacres and mass rape in China in 1937-38.

Mike Davis, Late Victorian Holocausts: El Nino Famines and the Making of the Third World. New York: Verso, 2001. Influential exploration of how early capitalist economics in the colonial world combined with environmental stresses to inflict mass death.

John Dower, War Without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific War. New York:

Pantheon, 1986. Analyzes the racism of both the US and Japanese war efforts, and

its transformation into peaceful cooperation after 1945. Barbara Ehrenreich, Blood Rites: Origins and History of the Passions ofWar. New York:

Metropolitan Books, 1997. Intriguing interpretation of warfare as a vestige of

human beings' prehistoric struggle against predators. Marcia Esparza, Henry R. Huttenbach, and Daniel Feierstein, eds, State Violence

and Genocide in Latin America: The Cold War Years. London: Routledge, 2010.

The first volume to systematically explore genocide in a modern Latin American

context; focuses on the "dirty wars" and genocides of the 1970s and '80s, along

with the US imperial role. J. Glenn Gray, The Warriors: Reflections on Men in Battle. Omaha, NB: University

of Nebraska Press, 1998. Evocation of the soldier's soul, first published in




Fred Halliday, Revolution and World Politics: The Rise and Fall of the Sixth Great Power. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1999. Global overview by a leading scholar of revolutions.

Alan Kramer, Dynamic of Destruction: Culture and Mass Killing in the First Work War. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007. How the First World War served as a precursor and prototype for the mass slaughters of the twentieth century.

Benjamin Lieberman, Terrible Fate: Ethnic Cleansingin the Making of Modern Europe. Chicago, IL: Ivan R. Dee, 2006. Moving, highly readable account of state forma­tion and imperial collapse in Europe, and the human destruction it wrought.

Robert Jay Lifton and Eric Markusen, The Genocidal Mentality: Nazi Holocaust and Nuclear Threat. New York: Basic Books, 1990. Compares the mindset of Nazi leaders and functionaries with that of their counterparts in the nuclear age.

Eric Markusen and David Kopf, The Holocaust and Strategic Bombing: Genocide and TotalWarin the Twentieth Century. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1995. Excellent analysis of points of sociological and psychological crossover.

Arno J. Mayer, The Furies: Violence and Terror in the French and Russian Revolutions. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2000. Epic study of two epochal revolutions.

Robert Melson, Revolution and Genocide: On the Origins of the Armenian Genocide and

the Holocaust. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1996. The interweaving

of war, revolution, and genocide. Jean-Paul Sartre and Arlette El Kai'm-Sartre, On Genocide. Boston, MA: Beacon

Press, 1968. Sartre's controversial essay, set alongside evidence of US crimes in


Jonathan Schell, The Fate of the Earth and the Abolition. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2000. Two key works on nuclearism, now in a combined edition; see also The Seventh Decade: The New Shape of Nuclear Danger.

Martin Shaw, War and Genocide: Organized Killing in Modern Society. Cambf idge: Polity Press, 2003. The best introduction to the subject.

Yukiko Tanaka, Hidden Horrors: Japanese War Crimes in World War IL Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1997. Examines biological experiments, sexual enslavement, and atrocities against prisoners-of-war.

Benjamin A. Valentino, Final Solutions: Mass Killing and Genocide in the 20th Century. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2004. Nuanced study of the insurgency-counterinsurgency dynamic in many genocidal campaigns; also strong on revolutionary ideologies and "communist mass killings."


1 Matk Levene, Genocide in the Age of the Nation State, Vol. 1: The Meaning of Genocide and Vol. 2: The Rise of the West and the Coming of Genocide (London: LB. Tauris, 2005).

2 James C. Scott, Seeing Like A State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1998).

3 Karel C. Berkhoff, Harvest of Despair: Life and Death in Ukraine under Nazi Rule (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2004); Wendy Lower, Nazi Empire-Building



and the Holocaust in Ukraine (Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press, 2004); Mark Mazower, Hitler's Empire: How the Nazis Ruled Europe (New York: Penguin, 2008).

4 Leonard Seabrooke, "Imperialism," in Martin Griffiths, ed., Encyclopedia of International Relations and Global Politics (London: Routledge, 2005), p. 398.

5 Ripon College, "Important Concepts in Global Studies," originally at http://www.ripon. edu/academics/global/concepts.html (link now defunct).

6 The term was first deployed by leading Marxist theoreticians such as Lenin and Gramsci. The most prominent treatment of the theme is that of Michael Hechter, who built his analysis around the English conquest of the "Celtic Fringe" (Scotland, Wales, and Ireland). See Hechter, Internal Colonialism: The Celtic Fringe in British National Development, 1536-1966 (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1975).

7 This is the interpretation advanced by Lynne Viola in The Unknown Gulag. "The peasantry would serve as an internal colony for Soviet economic development. . . . The countryside became a foreign country to be invaded, occupied, and conquered." She cites a fascinating speech by the Soviet dictator, Joseph Stalin (see Chapter 5), to the Communist Party Central Committee in July 1928, which is worth reproducing at length for the insights it offers into state-building, internal colonialism, and genocidal processes:

In capitalist countries industrialization was usually based not only on internal accu­mulation but also on the plundering of other countries, the plundering of colonies or vanquished countries, or on substantial loans from abroad. . . . Our country differs from the capitalist countries ... in that it cannot and must not engage in the plundering of colonies or in the plundering of other countries in general. Therefore this path is closed to us. But our country doesn't have loans from abroad either. Consequently, this path is closed to us as well. In that case what is left for us? One choice is left: to develop industry, to industrialize the country on the basis of internal accumulation [n.b. effectively, internal colonialism]. . . . But whete are the sources of this accumulation? . . . There are two such sources: fitst, the wotking class, which creates valuable output and moves industry forward; and second, the peasantry.

The situation in our country with regard to the peasantry in this case is the following: it pays the state not only ordinary taxes, direct and indirect, but it also pays relatively high prices for goods from industry - that is first of all - and it doesn't receive the full value of the prices of agricultural products - that is second of all. This is an additional tax on the peasantry in the interests of developing industry, which serves the whole country, including the peasantry. This is something like a 'tribute,' something like a surtax, which we are forced to take tempotarily in order to sustain and further develop the current rate of industrial growth. . . . This situation, needless to say, is unpleasant. But we would not be Bolsheviks if we papered over this fact and closed our eyes to the fact that, unfortunately, our industry and our country cannot manage without this additional tax on the peasantry.

Viola, The Unknown Gulag: The Lost World of Stalin's Special Settlements Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007, pp. 15, 32.

8 On Ireland, see Ben Kiernan, "The English Conquest of Ireland, 1565-1603," in Kiernan, Blood and Soil: A World History of Genocide and Extermination from Sparta to Darfur (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2007), pp. 169-212; Robbie McVeigh, '"The Balance of Cruelty': Ireland, Britain and the Logic of Genocide," Journal of Genocide Research, 10: 4 (December 2008), pp. 541-61. According to Hannibal Travis, after the manipulated famine of the 1840s, "An Irish official accused the British prime minister of having 'smitten and offered up as a holocaust' a total of a 'million and a half Irish people.' The lord lieutenant of Ireland in 1849 condemned Parliament for pursuing a cold, calculating 'policy of extermination.'" Hannibal Travis, Genocide in the Middle East: The Ottoman Empire, Lraq, and Sudan (Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press,



2010), p. 142. The usage in this early context of the modern-seeming language of "holo­caust" and "extermination" is interesting (see more on "extermination" in Chapter 15). 9 A readable popular account is Robert Hughes, The Fatal Shore: The Epic of Australia's Founding (NewYork: Vintage, 1988).

10 For an overview of the literature and law surrounding "famine crimes," see David Marcus, "Famine Crimes in International Law," The American Journal of International Law, 97 (2003), pp. 245-81. See also Rhoda E. Howard-Hassmann, "Genocide and State-Induced Famine: Global Ethics and Western Responsibility for Mass Atrocities in Africa," Perspectives on Global Development and Technology, 4: 3-4 (2005), pp. 487-516.

11 Amartya Sen, Development as Freedom (New York: Anchor, 1999), p. 168. Sen's 1977 study of the 1943-45 famine in colonial Bengal, in which some thtee million Indians died, prompted Henry Shue to coin his famous phrase, "the Holocaust of Neglect." Sen, "Starvation and Exchange Entitlements: A General Approach and Its Application to the Great Bengal Famine," Cambridge Journal of Economics, 1:1 (1977), pp. 33-59; Shue, Basic Rights: Subsistence, Affluence, and U.S. Foreign Policy (2nd edn) (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1996), p. 207 (n. 17).

12 Stephane Courtois et al, The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999).

13 See Cecil Woodham-Smith, The Great Hunger: Ireland 1845-1849 (London: Hamish Hamilton, 1962).

14 Mike Davis, Late Victorian Holocausts: El Nino Famines and the Making of the Third World (London: Vetso, 2001), pp. 158, 174.

15 Davis, Late Victorian Holocausts, pp. 15, 22, 37-38, 152, 287-88, 290. Eric Hobsbawm has also pointed out that colonial policy during the Indian famines occurred against a backdrop of Btitain's "virtual destruction ... of what had been a nourishing domestic and village industry which supplemented the rural incomes" across India, but which competed with British products. This "deindustrialization made the peasant village itself mote dependent on the single, fluctuating fortune of the harvest," and correspondingly more vulnerable when famine struck. Hobsbawm, The Age of Revolution, 1789—1848 (London: Abacus, 1994), p. 201.

16 The influence of Conrad's novella continues to the present, entrenching a notion of Congo, in Daniel Magnowski's words, "as being beyond anyone's help. . . . The idea of a dark, savage place resonates deeply in the Western psyche, to the point at which violence has become the expected national trait of Congo, and the country a canvas upon which the worst excesses of depravity have been painted." Magnowski, "'Cursed' Congo Still Shocks and Fascinates," Reuters dispatch, November 21, 2008.

17 Joseph Conrad, "Geography and Explorers," in Conrad, Last Essays (London: J.M. Dent & Sons, 1926), p. 25.

18 Adam Hochschild, King Leopold's Ghost (Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin, 1998), p. 4. A potent two-hour television documentary, Congo: White King Red Rubber, Black Death (dir. Peter Bate, 2003), was streaming on Google Videos (/) at the time of publication.

19 Martin Ewans, European Atrocity, African Catastrophe: LeopoldII, the Congo Free State and its Aftermath (London: RoutledgeCutzon, 2002), p. 3.

20 Quoted in Ewans, European Atrocity, African Catastrophe, pp. 112-13. Caryatids are (female) figures in the columns of Greek architecture, "used as pillar[s]" to support friezes and other stonework [The Concise Oxford Dictionary).

21 Hochschild, King Leopold's Ghost, p. 233.

22 Neal Ascherson, The King Incorporated: Leopold the Second and the Congo (London: Granta, 1999), p. 251.

23 Ascherson, The King Incorporated, p. 9.

24 For more on the gendering of the catasttophe, see Adam Jones/Gendercide Watch, "Case Study: Corvee (Forced) Labour," /case_corvee.html.



25 Hochschild, King Leopold's Ghost, p. 232. Nor were the Belgians the only impetial power to inflict genocidal atrocities on Congo: accotding to Hochschild (p. 280), French rule in "theit" part of the Congo resulted in population losses also approaching 50 percent in the most afflicted regions.

26 Ascherson, The King Incorporated, p. 9.

27 See also E.D. Morel's influential contribution, Red Rubber: The Story of the Rubber Slave Trade Which Flourished on the Congo for Twenty Years, 1890-1910 (Manchester: The National Labour Press, 1920).

28 John Rabe, The Good Man of Nanking: The Diaries of John Rabe, trans. John E. Woods (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1998), pp. 76-77, 134. Notoriously, the fapan Advertiser of December 7, 1937 related the "friendly contest" held between two Japanese sub­lieutenants "to see which of them will first fell 100 Chinese in individual sword combat" (i.e., the execution of Chinese male non-combatants).

[Toshiaki] Mukai has a scote of 106 and his rival [Takeshi Noda] has dispatched 105 men, but the two contestants have found it impossible to determine which passed the 100 mark first. Instead of settling it with a discussion, they are going to extend the goal by 50. . . . Mukai's blade was slightly damaged in the competition. He explained that this was the result of cutting a Chinese in half, helmet and all. The contest was 'fun,' he declared, and thought it a good thing that both men had gone ovet the 100 mark without knowing that the othet had done so.

(quoted p. 283)

29 R.J. Rummei, Death by Government (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 1997), pp. 146, 151.

30 Ibid., p. 150.

31 For in-depth treatments of Japanese forced prostitution in the occupied territories, see Yuki Tanaka, fapan's Comfort Women: The Military and Involuntary Prostitution During War and Occupation (London: Routledge, 2002); George L. Hicks, The Comfort Wom.en: Japan's Brutal Regime of Enforced Prostitution in the Second World War (New York: W.W. Norton, 1997). See further discussion in the context of memory issues and redress claims in Chapter 14.

32 Yukiko Tanaka, Hidden Horrors: Japanese War Crimes in World War II (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1997), pp. 137-38. A good, brief introduction to Japanese crimes is Laurence Rees, Horror in the East: Japan and the Atrocities of World War II (Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press, 2002).

33 See Sheldon H. Harris, Factories of Death: Japanese Biological Warfare, 1932-45 and the American Cover-Up (rev. edn) (London: Routledge, 2001).

34 The most detailed account of the massacre is Michael Bilton and Kevin Sim, Four Hours in My Lai (New York: Penguin, 1992). The wrenching TV documentary of the same name can be searched on YouTube, and makes clear also the resulting trauma (in one case, to the point of self-destruction) for many of the guilt-ridden soldier-perpetrators.

35 Hersh's original dispatches on the My Lai massacre are compiled at http://www. /Bobst/library/wf-200.htm.

36 In August 2009, in a speech to his local Kiwanis Club in Columbus, Geotgia, Calley made his first public comment on the massacre: "There is not a day that goes by that I do not feel remorse for what happened that day in My Lai. I feel remorse for the Vietnamese who were killed, for their families, for the American soldiers involved and their families. I am very sorry." See "Calley Apologizes for Role in My Lai Massacre," Associated Press dispatch on , August 21, 2009, http://www.msnbc.msn. com/id/32514139/ns/us_news-military.

37 See the account by Toledo Blade journalists Michael Sallah and Mitch Weiss, based on their Pulitzer Prize-winning reportage: Tiger Force: A True Story of Men and War (New Yotk: Back Bay Books, 2006); and Deborah Nelson, The War Behind Me: Vietnam Veterans Confront the Truth about US War Crimes (New York: Basic Books, 2008).



In 2001, the former US Senator and Navy Seal, Bob Kerrey, confessed his involvement in one such massacre of civilians. See Douglas Valentine, "Bob Kerrey, CIA War Crimes, and the Need for a War Crimes Trial," , May 17, 2001, /valentine.html. Valentine's earlier book, The Phoenix Program (Authors Guild, 2000), analyzes the post-Tet "pacification" atrocities, and is also essential. For a discussion of remarkably similar acts by US forces during the Korean War, only recently uneatthed, see Charles J. Hanley, Sang-Hun Choe, and Martha Mendoza, The Bridge at No Gun Ri: A Hidden Nightmare from the Korean War (New York: Henry Holt & Company, 2001). For an argument that "the No Gun Ri incident. . . may be the tip of the iceberg in regards [sic] to the mattet of mass killings committed by US and South Kotean troops during the Korean War," citing "mote than sixty cases of mass killing committed by US troops, by shooting, bombing, strafing or other means," see Dong Choon Kim, "Forgotten War, Forgotten Massacres: The Korean War (1950-1953) as Licensed Mass Killings," Journal of Genocide Research, 6: 4 (2004), pp. 523-44. As Kim notes (p. 531), "In every aspect of the war - America's use of napalm, indiscriminate bombing, and the shooting of'voiceless' civilians of the Thitd World, the Kotean War preceded the Indochina Wat in many tragic ways." See also Geoffrey Cain, "Is Time Running Out to Dig Up S. Korea's Mass Graves?," Time, November 27, 2009, http://www.time.eom/time/world/article/0,8599,1943075,00. html.

38 Martha Ann Overland, "Agent Otange Poisons New Generations in Vietnam," Time, December 19, 2009, /time/wotld/article/0,8599,1948084,00. html.

39 S. Brian Willson, "Bob Kerrey's Atrocity, the Crime of Vietnam and the Historic Pattern of US Imperialism," in Adam Jones, ed., Genocide, War Crimes and the West: History and Complicity (London: Zed Books, 2004), pp. 167-69.

40 As I learned on a visit to the Plain of Jars in summer 2009, one treads gingerly on narrow paths cleared by the dedicated workers of the Mines Advisory Group (MAG), even in areas at the heatt of Laos's attempt to revive a tourist economy. To ramble away from the path is to risk death ot disfigurement - neatly four decades aftet the bombing assault climaxed. See the website of the Mines Advisory Group (MAG), http://www. , and that of the organization devoted to crafting prosthetic limbs fot UXO victims in Laos, the Cooperative Orthotic and Prosthetic Entetprise (COPE), .

41 Arthur Jay Klinghoffer, "International Citizens' Tribunals on Human Rights," in Adam Jones, ed., Genocide, War Crimes and the West: History and Complicity (London: Zed Books, 2004), p. 355.

42 Ann Curthoys and John Docket, "Defining Genocide," in Dan Stone, ed., The Historiography of Genocide (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008), p. 25.

43 Jean-Paul Sartre, "On Genocide," in Jean-Paul Sartre and Arlette El Kai'm-Sartre, On Genocide (Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 1968), p. 82.

44 "In the Vietnam Wat the use of bombing tactics and cruel weapons against the civilian population appears to me to establish a prima facie case of genocide against the United States." Richard Falk, writing in 1968; quoted in Arthur Jay Klinghoffer and Judith Klinghoffer, International Citizens' Tribunals: Mobilizing Public Opinion to Advance Human Rights (New York: Palgrave, 2002), p. 235 (n. 26).

45 See the discussion of recent findings on the bombing of Cambodia on p. 287.

46 Eric Margolis, War at the Top of the World: The Struggle for Afghanistan, Kashmir, and Tibet (New York: Routledge, 2001), p. 18.

47 Rosanne Klass, "Afghanistan," in Israel W. Charny et al, eds, The Encyclopedia of Genocide, Vol. 2 (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2000), pp. 48-49. Benjamin Valentino's summary of Soviet scorched-earth strategies is succinct: "In regions of high gueirilla activity, Soviet forces systematically burned crops and dwellings, reducing vast swaths of territory to wasteland. Soviet aircraft employed incendiary weapons, including napalm and phosphorus cluster munitions, to burn crops from the air. Entire herds of livestock were slaughtered or confiscated. Irrigation systems were intentionally destroyed,



rendering agriculture in Afghanistan's arid climate all but impossible. Some reports suggest that Soviet forces deliberately poisoned village grain stores and water supplies. Houses and agticultutal fields were heavily mined. By 1984 these tactics and the ensuing exodus of the rutal population resulted in a 75 to 80 percent decline in agricultural production compared to pre-1979 levels." Valentino, Final Solutions: Mass Killing and Genocide in the 20th Century (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2004), p. 224. As with the US "free-fire zones" in Vietnam, or the Mayan highlands of Guatemala during the military's campaign of "scorched communists" (Box 3a), this is precisely the kind of coordinated campaign to deliberately inflict "conditions of life calculated to bring about [the] physical destruction" of a group that is referenced in Article 2(c) of the UN Genocide Convention.

48 Ibid., p. 222.

49 As explored by Richard Drinnon in Facing West: The Metaphysics of Indian Hating and Empire Building (NewYork: Schocken Books, 1990).

50 Valentino, and Laber and Rubin quoted, in ibid., pp. 221-22.

51 Gregory Feifer, The Great Gamble: The Soviet War in Afghanistan (New York: HarperPerennial, 2009), p. 4.

52 Boulouque, "Communism in Afghanistan," p. 717.

53 Helen Fein, "Disctiminating Genocide from War Crimes: Vietnam and Afghanistan Reexamined," Denver Journal of International Law and Policy, 22: 1 (1993), p. 61. Hannibal Travis also refers to "the genocidal war between Soviet and Afghan communist forces and the fundamentalist insurgents backed by the Western and wider Islamic worlds." Travis, Genocide in the Middle East, p. 385.

54 Levene, Genocide in the Age of the Nation State, Vol. 2, pp. 217, 232, 274.

55 Ibid., pp. 223—24. Many scholars, including Levene, Omer Bartov, and Jacques Semelin, have also drawn attention "to those geogtaphic zones situated at the crossroads of empires": "These buffer zones between two worlds, between two ot more empires, would indeed appear fragile, if not uncontrollable. The melting-pot situation whereby popu­lations mix and mingle constitutes a factot of uncertainty and of potential risk of violence, whether on the patt of some community groups or of neighboring nations" - particulaily,

I would add, when empires feel especially vulnerable. Semelin, Purify and Destroy: The Political Uses of Massacre and Genocide (New York: Columbia University Press, 2007), p. 118.

56 Levene, Genocide in the Age of the Nation State, Vol. E pp. 186-87.

57 On the Serb case, see David B. MacDonald, "From Jasenovac to Srebrenica: Subaltern Genocide and the Serbs," in Nicholas A. Robins and Adam Jones, eds, Genocides by the Oppressed: Subaltern Genocide in Theory and Practice (Bloomington, IN: Indiana Univeisity Press, 2009), pp. 103-21.

58 Christopher J. Fettweis, "War as Catalyst: Moving World War II to the Center of Holocaust Scholarship," fournal of Genocide Research, 5:2 (2003), p. 225.

59 "Genocide can be regarded as a particular form of modern warfare, and an extension of the more common form of degenerate war," which "involves the delibetate and systematic extension of war against an organized armed enemy to war against a latgely unarmed civilian population. . . . Therefore, the best way of making sense of genocide is to see it as a distinctive form of war." Martin Shaw, War and Genocide: Organized Killing in Modern Society (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2003), p. 5.

60 Goebbels quoted in Jeffrey Herf, The Jewish Enemy: Nazi Propaganda during World War

IIand the Holocaust (Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2006), p. 149.

61 Fettweis, "War as Catalyst," p. 228.

62 Semelin, Purify and Destroy, p. 172.

63 Batbara Ehrenreich, Blood Rites: Origins and History of the Passions of War (New York: Metropolitan Books, 1997), pp. 180-81.

64 Alex Alvarez, Governments, Citizens, and Genocide: A Comparative and Interdisciplinary Approach (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2001), p. 68.



65 I am grateful to Benjamin Madley for this insight.

66 Norman M. Naimark, Fires of Hatred: Ethnic Cleansing in Twentieth-century Europe (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2001), p. 187.

67 George L. Mosse, quoted in Ehrenreich, Blood Rites, p. 183.

68 Alvarez, Governments, Citizens, and Genocide, p. 68.

69 Barash quoted in Michael Shermer and Alex Grobman, Denying History: Who Says the Holocaust Never Happened and Why Do They Say It? (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2002), p. 93.

70 Ehrenreich, Blood Rites, p. 196.

71 Peter Uvin, Aiding Violence: The Development Enterprise in Rwanda (West Hartford, CT: Kumarian Press, 1998).

72 Quoted in Adam Jones, Genocide: A Comprehensive Introduction (first edition) (London: Routledge, 2006), pp. 50-51.

73 Ewen MacAskill, "Fort Hood Backlash Feated," The Guardian Weekly, November 13, 2009.

74 Quoted passages from The Anti-Idiotatian Rottweiler (/), November 2009 archives, /2009/index.php/archives/date/2009/ll. All typography as in the original.

75 John Keegan, The First World War (New York: Vintage, 1998), p. 299.

76 In 1989,1 walked the Somme battlefields; the experience is described, with accompanying photos, in Adam Jones, "No Man's Land," The Gazette (Montreal), December 11, 1989 (available at /nomans.htm).

77 Shaw, War and Genocide, p. 172. According to Lance Morrow, "Trench warfare prefigured the fatal industrialism of the Nazi death camps: thete cling to the gray, corpse-litteted wastelands of Wotld War I something of the same atmosphete: individual life stripped of meaning, dignity, all life and all death rendeted purposeless, and reduced to absolute metaphysical insignificance." Morrow, Evil: An Investigation (New York: Basic Books, 2003), p. 47.

78 A good overview of the Soviet side of the German—Soviet conflict is Richard Overy, Russia's War (London: Penguin, 1997). See also Catherine Merridale, Ivan's War: life and Death in the Red Army, 1939-1945 (New York: Picador, 2007); Antony Beevor, Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege, 1942—1943 (London: Penguin, 1999); John Erickson's two-volume study, The Road to Stalingrad and The Road to Berlin (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1999); British diplomat Alexander Werth's towering memoir, Russia at War, 1941-1945 (New York: Carroll & Graf, 1999); and for a revisionist account of Stalin's capacities as military and national leader, Geoffrey Roberts, Stalin's Wars: From World War to Cold War, 1939-1953 (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2006).

79 Omer Bartov, Germany's War and the Holocaust: Disputed Histories (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2003), p. 7.

80 Omer Bartov, Hitler's Army: Soldiers, Nazis, and War in the Third Reich (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992), p. 129.

81 Ehrenburg quoted in Alfred-Maurice de Zayas, A Terrible Revenge: The Ethnic Cleansing of the East European Germans, 1944-1950 (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1994), p. 34.

82 Stalin quoted in Milovan Djilas, Wartime (New York: Harvest, 1980), p. 435.

83 Norman M. Naimark, The Russians in Germany: A History of the Soviet Zone of Occupation, 1945-1949 (Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press,' 1995), pp. 72, 133; see also pp. 235-50 on the postwar uranium mining that killed thousands of German workers.

84 Gary Paul Bass, Stay the Hand of Vengeance: The Politics of War Crimes Tribunals (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Ptess, 2000), p. 198.

85 Daniel Chirot and Clark McCauley, Why Not Kill Them All? The logic and Prevention of Mass Political Murder (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2006), p. 216.

86 Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The Communist Manifesto (London: Penguin, various editions).



87 Fascism "is closely associated with imperialism, militarism and nationalism. The logic of belief in racial superiority leads to policies of conquest, domination and even elimination of lesser races." Graham Evans and Richard Newnham, The Penguin Dictionary of International Relations (London: Penguin, 1999), p. 168.

88 Shaw, War and Genocide, p. 29.

89 Robert Melson, Revolution and Genocide: On the Origins of Armenian Genocide and the Holocaust (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1996), p. 18.

90 Eric Matkusen and Matthias Bjornlund, "Hiroshima: Culmination of Strategic Bombing, Beginning of the Threat of Nuclear Omnicide," paper prepared for the symposium "Terror in the Sky: Indiscriminate Bombing from Hiroshima to Today," Hiroshima Peace Institute, August 2, 2003.

91 Robert Jay Lifton and Eric Markusen, The Genocidal Mentality: Nazi Holocaust and Nuclear Threat (New York: Basic Books, 1990), p. 38.

92 Jonathan Schell, The Fate of the Earth and the Abolition (Stanford, CA: Stanfoid University Press, 2000), p. 182.

93 Lifton and Markusen, The Genocidal Mentality, p. 226.

94 Andre De Nesnera, "US and Russia Close to an Arms Control Agreement," , December 18, 2009.

95 See Terrence Henry, "Russia's Loose Nukes," The Atlantic Monthly, December 2004, pp. 74-75.



Genocides of Indigenous Peoples


This chapter considers the impact of European invasion upon diverse indigenous peoples. Vast geographic, temporal, and cultural differences exist among these cases, but there are important common features in the strategies and outcomes of genocide.1 To grasp this phenomenon, we must first define "indigenous peoples." The task is not easy. Indeed, both in discourse and in international law, the challenge of definition remains a "complex [and] delicate" one, in anthropologist Ronald Niezen's appraisal.2 Nevertheless, there are "some areas of general consensus among formal attempts at definition," well captured in a 1987 report by the UN Special Rapporteur on indigenous issues, Jose Martinez Cobo:

Indigenous communities, peoples and nations are those which, having a historical continuity with pre-invasion and pre-colonial societies that developed on their territories, consider themselves distinct from other sectors of the society now prevailing in those territories, or parts of them. They form at present nondominant sectors of society and are determined to preserve, develop and transmit to future generations their ancestral territories and their ethnic identity, as the basis of their continued existence as peoples, in accordance with their own cultural patterns, social institutions and legal systems.3

By this definition, "indigenous" peoples are inseparable from processes of colonialism and imperialism that consigned the previously dominant population of a colonized



territory to a marginal status.4 A nexus of indigenous identity and structural sub­ordination is generally held to persist today.

The political and activist components of the indigenist project are also clear from Martinez Cobo's definition. Indigenous peoples proclaim the validity and worth of their cultures, languages, laws, religious beliefs, and political institutions; they demand respect and political space. Increasingly, they have mobilized to denounce the genocides visited upon them in the past and demand their rights in the present. In large part thanks to the growth of international governmental and nongovern­mental organizations, notably the United Nations system, these mobilizations have assumed a global character. This is analyzed further in the section on "Indigenous revival," below.


The histories of indigenous peoples cannot be understood without reference to imperialism and colonialism, examined in the previous chapter. In general, though not overlooking the counterexample of African slavery, the destruction of indigenous peoples was less catastrophic in cases of "empire lite," whete foreign settlement was mostly limited to coastal settlements, and networks of trade and exploitation were predominantly in the hands of native satraps. Correspondingly, policies of extermina­tion and/or exploitation unto death were most pronounced in areas where Europeans sought to conquer indigenous territories and both displace and supplant their native populations. The focus here is on this latter variant, known as "settler colonialism."

Three ideological tenets stand out as justifying and facilitating European conquest, "pacification," and "settlement." The first, most prominent in the British realm (especially the United States, Canada, and Australasia), was a legal-utilitarian justi­fication, according to which native peoples had no right to territories they inhabited, owing to their "failure" to exploit them adequately. As Benjamin Madley has pointed out, this translated in Australasia to the fiction of terra nullius, i.e., that the territories in question had no original inhabitants in a legal sense; and, in America, to the similar concept of vacuum domicilium, or "empty dwelling."5 The second tenet, most prom­inent in Latin America, was a religious ideology that justified invasion and conquest as a means of saving native souls from the fires of hell. The third, more diffuse, underpinning was a racial-eliminationist ideology. Under the influence of the most modern scientific thinking of the age, world history was viewed as revolving around the inevitable, sometimes lamentable supplanting of primitive peoples by more advanced and "civilized" ones. This would be engineered through military confronta­tions between indigenous peoples and better-armed Europeans, and "naturally," through a gradual dying-off of the native populations. "Genocide began to be regarded as the inevitable byproduct of progress," as literary scholar Sven Lindqvist observed — even if its perpetrators and supporters grew misty-eyed in the process.6

A sophisticated study of this pervasive ideology of inevitable extinction is Patrick Brantlinger's Dark Vanishings. Brantlinger pointed to the remarkable "uniformity ... of extinction discourse," which pervaded the speech and writings of "humani­tarians, missionaries, scientists, government officials, explorers, colonists, soldiers,



journalists, novelists, and poets." Extinction discourse often celebrated the destruc­tion of native peoples, as when the otherwise humane author Mark Twain wrote that the North American Indian was "nothing but a poor, filthy, naked scurvy vagabond, whom to exterminate were a charity to the Creator's worthier insects and reptiles."7 Often, though, the discourse was more complex and ambivalent, including nostalgia and lament for vanishing peoples. English naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace, who shared credit with Charles Darwin for the theory of natural selection, wrote:

The red Indian in North America and in Brazil; the Tasmanian, Australian, and New Zealander in the southern hemisphere, die out, not from any one special cause, but from the inevitable effects of an unequal mental and physical struggle. The intellectual and moral, as well as the physical qualities of the European are superior; the same powers and capacities which have made him rise in a few centuries from the condition of the wandering savage ... to his present state of culture and advancement. . . enable him when in contact with the savage man, to conquer in the struggle for existence, and to increase at the expense of the less adapted varieties in the animal and vegetable kingdoms, - just as the weeds of Europe overrun North America and Australia, extinguishing native ptoductions by the inhetent vigor of their organization, and by their greater capacity for existence and multiplication.8

Several features of extinction discourse are apparent here, including the parallels drawn with natural biological selection, and the claims of racial superiority imputed to northern peoples. Yet it is interesting that Wallace depicted the European con­querors as analogous to "weeds . . . overrunning] North America and Australia," rather than as representatives of a noble race. Wallace was in fact an "anti-imperialist and anti-capitalist";9 hence his critical edge. But like some contemporary observers (several of whom are cited in the section on "Denying genocide, celebrating genocide," below), Wallace found little difficulty in reconciling the extermination of native peoples with his progressive political views.

There is a close link between extinction discourse and the more virulent and systematically hateful ideologies that fueled the Nazi Holocaust in Europe (Box 6a). The Nazis, wrote Lindqvist, "have been made sole scapegoats for ideas of extermi­nation that are actually a common European heritage."10 We should also note the interaction of extinction discourse with ideologies of modernization and capitalist development, which created "surplus or redundant population[s]," in genocide scholar Richard Rubenstein's phrase. As Rubenstein explained in his Age of Triage, these ideologies produced destructive or genocidal outcomes in European societies as well, as with the colonial famines of the nineteenth century, or the Holocaust.11 Ironically, this modernizing ideology also resulted in the migration — as convicts or refugees from want, political persecution, and famine - of millions of "surplus" Europeans to the New World. In Australia and the United States, among other locations, these settlers would become key, often semi-autonomous instruments of genocide against indigenous peoples.




The reader may ask himself if this is not cruelty and injustice of a kind so terrible that it beggars the imagination, and whether these poor people would not fare far better if they were entrusted to the devils in Hell than they do at the hands of the devils of the New World who masquerade as Christians.

Bartolome de las Casas, Spanish friar, 1542

I have been looking far,

Sending my spirit notth, south, east and west. Trying to escape death, But could find nothing, No way of escape.

Song of the Luiseno Indians of California

The European holocaust of indigenous peoples in the Americas may have been the most extensive and destructive genocide ever. Ethnic studies scholar Ward Churchill has called it "unparalleled in human history, both in terms of its sheer magnitude and its duration."12 Over nearly five centuries, and perhaps continuing to the present, wide-ranging genocidal measutes have been imposed.13 These include:

• genocidal massacres;

• biological warfare, using pathogens (especially smallpox and plague) to which the indigenous peoples had no resistance;14

• spreading of disease via the "reduction" of Indians to densely crowded and unhy­gienic settlements;

• slavery and forced/indentured labor, especially though not exclusively in Latin America,15 in conditions often rivaling those of Nazi concentration camps;

• mass population removals to barren "reservations," sometimes involving death marches en route, and generally leading to widespread mortality and population collapse upon arrival;

• deliberate starvation and famine, exacerbated by destruction and occupation of the native land base and food resources;

• forced education of indigenous children in white-run schools, where mortality rates sometimes reached genocidal levels.


The Spanish invasion, occupation, and exploitation of "Latin" America began in the late fifteenth century, and resulted, according to American studies scholar David Stannard, in "the worst series of human disease disasters, combined with the most extensive and most violent program of human eradication, that this world has ever seen."16 The tone was set with the first territory conquered, the densely populated Caribbean island of Hispaniola (today the Dominican Republic and Haiti). Tens of thousands of Indians were exterminated: the Spanish "forced their way into native



Figure 3.1 After invading Hispaniola, the Spanish enslaved the population and inflicted systematic atrocities, like the severing of limbs depicted here, upon natives who failed to deliver sufficient gold to the Spaniards. In two or thtee decades, the indigenous population of Hispaniola was exterminated. The carnage sparked outtage in Europe, resulring in some stylized but otherwise accurate contemporary representations, like this (sixteenth-century?) rendering.

Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Figure 3.2 A detail of Diego Rivera's mural "La Gran Tenochtitlan" (1945), depicting the grandeur and social complexity of the pre-conquest Aztec capital. (Tenochtitlan is today's Mexico City; Riveta's mural, of which this is only a small section, occupies a wall of the presidential palace, just a few meters from the ruins of the Aztec main temple.) The accomplishments of indigenous societies — in engineering, agriculture, and urban sanitation, for example — often far outstripped those of early-modern Europe. But indigenous military technologies were no match for European ones. Moreover, some American societies - like the Aztecs, Mayans, and Iroquois - appear themselves to have waged war-unto-genocide, whether prior ro or following European contact. In the Aztec case, this provoked neighboring Indian nations to join with the Spanish conquistadors, and supply most of the foot-soldiers who finally besieged and overthrew "the great Tenochtitlan."

Source: Diego Rivera/Courtesy James Kiracofe.



settlements," wrote eyewitness Bartolome de las Casas, "slaughtering everyone they found there, including small children, old men, [and] pregnant women."17 Those men not killed at the outset were worked to death in gold mines; women survivors were consigned to harsh agricultural labor and sexual servitude. Massacred, sickened, and enslaved, Hispaniola's native population collapsed, "as would any nation sub­jected to such appalling treatment"18 — declining from as many as eight million people at the time of the invasion to a scant 20,000 less than three decades later.19 African slaves then replaced native wotkers, and toiled under similarly genocidal conditions.

Rumors of great civilizations, limitless wealth, and populations to convert to Christianity in the Aztec and Inca empires lured the Spanish on to Mexico and Central America. Soon thereafter, assaults were launched against the Inca empire in present-day Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador. The Incas constituted the largest empire in the world, but with their leader Atahuallpa captured and killed, the empire was decapitated, and quickly fell. "It is extremely difficult now to grasp the beliefs and

Figure 3.3 The Cerro Rico overlooking Potosi, Bolivia. Following the discovery of silver in the mid-sixteenth century, rhis mounrain largely paid for the profligacy and foreign wars of the Spanish Crown for some two hundred years. Millions of Indians and some African slaves were forced ro work in horrific conditions, making the Cerro possibly the world's single biggest graveyard: anywhere from one million to eight million forced laborers perished in the mines, or from silicosis and other diseases soon after. By some estimates, the mines killed seven out of every ten who worked rhere. Time for a Porosi holocaust museum, perhaps?

Source: Author's photo, 2005.



motives of the Conquistadores [conquerors] as they cheated, tortured, burnt, maimed, mutdered and massacred their way through South and Meso-America, causing such ferocious destruction that their compatriot Pedro de Cieza de Leon complained that 'wherever Christians have passed, conquering and discovering, it seems as though a fire has gone, consuming."'20 A holocaust it indeed proved for the Indians enslaved on plantations and in silver mines. Conditions in the mines — notably those in Mexico and at Potosi (see Figure 3.3) and Huancavelica in Upper Peru (Bolivia) - resulted in death rates matching or exceeding those of Hispaniola. According to Stannard, Indians in the Bolivian mines had a life expectancy of three to four months, "about the same as that of someone working at slave labor in the synthetic rubber manufacturing plant at Auschwitz in the 1940s."21 In the contem­porary testimony of Fray Toribio de Motolinfa, "The Indians that died in the mines produced such a stench that it caused the plague ... for about half a square league you could hardly walk without stepping on dead bodies or on bones; and so many birds and ravens came to eat that they greatly shadowed the sun, and many towns were depopulated."22

Only in the mid-sixteenth century did the exterminatory impact of Spanish rule begin to wane. A modus vivendi was established between colonizers and colonized, featuring continued exploitation of surviving Indian populations, but also a degree of autonomy for native peoples. It survived until the mid-nineteenth century, when the now-independent governments of Spanish America sought to implement the economic prescriptions then popular in Europe. This resulted in another assault on "uneconomic" Indian landholdings, the further erosion of the Indian land base and impoverishment of its population, and the "opening up" of both land and labor resources to capitalist transformation. Meanwhile, in both South America and North America, expansionist governments launched "Indian wars" against native nations that were seen as impediments to economic development and progress. The cam­paigns against Araucana Indians in Chile and the Querandi in Argentina form part of national lore in these countries. Only relatively recently have South American scholars and others begun to examine such exterminations under the rubric of genocide.23


The first sustained contact between Europeans and the indigenous peoples of North America developed around the whaling industty that, in the sixteenth century, began to cross the Atlantic in search of new bounty. Whaling crews put ashore to process the catch, and were often welcomed by the coastal peoples. Similarly, when the Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts, in 1608, their survival through the first harsh winters was due solely to the generosity of Indians who fed them and trained them in regional agriculture. The settlers, though, responded to this amity with contempt for the "heathen" Indians. In addition, as more colonists flooded into the northeastern seaboard of the future United States, they brought diseases that wreaked havoc on Indian communities, leading to depopulation that paved the way for settler expansion into the devastated Indian heartlands.




Figure 3.4 Cree Canadian singer Buffy Sainte-Marie in concert. Sainte-Marie exemplified the North American Indian cultural and political revival of the 1960s and 1970s. Her 1965 song, "My Counrry Tis of Thy People You're Dying," was likely the first engagement with American Indian genocide in North American popular culture. It still stands as one of the most powerful and poetic statements on the subject.

Source: Courtesy .

My Country 'Tis of Thy People You're Dying

By Buffy Sainte-Marie

From Little Wheel Spin and Spin (1965)

Now that your big eyes have finally opened

Now that you're wondering how must they feel

Meaning them that you've chased across America's movie screens

Now that you're wondering "how can it be real?"

That the ones you've called colorful, noble and proud

In your school propaganda

They starve in their splendor?

You've asked for my comment I simply will render

My country 'tis of thy people you're dying.

Now that the longhouses breed superstition

You force us to send our toddlers away

To your schools where they're taught to despise their traditions.

Forbid them their languages, then further say

That American history really began

When Columbus set sail out of Europe, then stress



That the nation of leeches that conquered this land

Are the biggest and bravest and boldest and best.

And yet where in your history books is the tale

Of the genocide basic to this country's birth,

Of the preachers who lied, how the Bill of Rights failed,

How a nation of patriots returned to their earth?

And where will it tell of the Liberty Bell

As it rang with a thud

O'er Kinzua mud24

And of brave Uncle Sam in Alaska this year? My country 'tis of thy people you're dying.

Hear how the bargain was made for the West:

With her shivering children in zero degrees,

Blankets for your land, so the treaties attest,

Oh well, blankets for land is a bargain indeed,

And the blankets were those Uncle Sam had collected

From smallpox-diseased dying soldiers that day.

And the tribes were wiped out and the history books censored,

A hundred years of your statesmen have felt it's better this way.

And yet a few of the conquered have somehow survived,

Their blood runs the redder though genes have paled.

From the Grand Canyon's caverns to craven sad hills

The wounded, the losers, the robbed sing their tale.

From Los Angeles County to upstate New York

The white nation fattens while others grow lean;

Oh the tricked and evicted they know what I mean.

My country 'tis of thy people you're dying.

The past it just crumbled, the future just threatens; Our life blood shut up in your chemical tanks. And now here you come, bill of sale in your hands And surprise in your eyes that we're lacking in thanks For the blessings of civilization you've brought us, The lessons you've taught us, the ruin you've wrought us Oh see what our trust in America's brought us. My country 'tis of thy people you're dying.

Now that the pride of the sires receives charity, Now that we're harmless and safe behind laws. Now that my life's to be known as your heritage, Now that even the graves have been robbed, Now that our own chosen way is a novelty Hands on our hearts we salute you your victory,



Choke on your blue white and scarlet hypocrisy Pitying the blindness that you've never seen That the eagles of war whose wings lent you glory They were never no more than carrion crows,

Pushed the wrens from their nest, stole their eggs, changed their story;

The mockingbird sings it, it's all that he knows.

"Ah what can I do?" say a powerless few

With a lump in your throat and a tear in your eye

Can't you see that their poverty's profiting you?

My country 'tis of thy people you're dying.

Lyrics reprinted by permission of Buffy Sainte-Marie25

According to demographer Russell Thornton, disease was "without doubt. . . the single most important factor in American Indian population decline,"26 which in five centuries reduced the Indian population of the present-day United States from between seven and ten million (though anthropologist Henry Dobyns has estimated as many as eighteen million) to 237,000 by the end of the nineteenth century.27 Smallpox was the biggest killer: uncounted numbers of Indians died as did O-wapa-shaw, "the gteatest man of the Sioux, with half his band . . . their bodies swollen, and covered with pustules, their eyes blinded, hideously howling their death song in utter despair."28 At least one epidemic was deliberately spread, by British commander Lord Jeffery Amherst in 1763. Amherst ordered a commanding officer in 1763: "You will Do well to try to Inoculate the Indians [with smallpox] by means of Blanketts, as well as to try Every other method that can serve to extirpate this Execrable Race."29 It is likely that other attempts were made to infect Indian populations with the pox, according to Norbert Finzsch, though their "success" is harder to determine.30 Cholera, measles, plague, typhoid, and alcoholism also took an enormous toll. Other, often interlocking factors included "the often deliberate destructions of flota and fauna that American Indians used for food and other purposes,"31 whether as a military strategy or simply as part of the exploitation of the continent's resources. An example of both was the extermination of the bison, which was hunted into near extinction. Perhaps sixty million buffalo roamed the Great Plains before contact. ". . . By 1895 there were fewer than 1,000 animals left," and the ecocidal campaign (see p. 26) "had not only driven [the Indians] to starvation and defeat but had destroyed the core of their spiritual and ceremonial world."32

Genocidal massacres were also prominent. According to Thornton, though direct slaughter was a subsidiary cause of demographic decline, it was decisive in the trajectories of some Indian nations "brought to extinction or the brink of extinction by. . . genocide in the name of war."33 Perhaps the first such instance in North America was the Pequot War (1636-37) in present-day Connecticut, when Puritan settlers reacted to an Indian raid by launching an extermination campaign.34 This "created a precedent for later genocidal wars,"33 including that targeting Apaches in the 1870s. "As there has been a great deal said about my killing women and children," the civilian scout leader King Woolsey wrote to military authorities,



"I will state to you that we killed in this Scout 22 Bucks [males] 5 women & 3 children. We would have killed more women but [did not] owing to having attacked in the day time when the women were at work gathering Mescal. It sir is next to impossible to prevent killing squaws in jumping a rancheria [settlement] even were we disposed to save them. For my part I am frank to say that I fight on the broad platform of extermination."56

Perhaps most infamous was Colonel John Chivingtons command to his volunteer soldiers, in November 1864 at Sand Creek, Colorado, to "kill and scalp all, little and big." Children could not be exempted, Chivington declared, because "Nits make lice."37 The ensuing massacre prompted a government inquiry, at which Lieutenant James Connor testified:

I did not see a body of man, woman or child but was scalped, and in many instances their bodies were mutilated in the most horrible manner - men, women and children's privates cut out, &c; I heard one man say that he cut out a woman's private parts and had them for exhibition on a stock ... I also heard of numerous instances in which men had cut out the private parts of females and stretched them over their saddle-bows and wore them over their hats . . . .38

Recalling this rampage, US President Theodore Roosevelt would call it "as righteous and beneficial a deed as ever took place on the frontier."39

As noted above, killing was just one of a complex of genocidal strategies that were intended to result in the elimination of Indian peoples from the face of the earth. The Yuki Indians, for example, were subjected to one of the clearest and fastest genocides of a native nation in US history. The Yuki, numbering perhaps 20,000, inhabited territory in northern California. With the seizure of California and other Mexican territories in 1847, the Yuki fell under US control. The following year, the California Gold Rush began. It proved "probably the single most destructive episode in the whole history of Native/Euro-American relations."40 Ranchers and farmers flowed in and, among many other atrocities, murdered Yuki men and stripped the communities of children and women, taking the former for servants and the latter for "wives" and concubines. The Yuki land base was expropriated and the "natives' food supply . . . severely depleted." Settler depredations received state sanction in 1859, when California governor John B. Weller "granted state commissions to companies of volunteers that excelled in the killing of Indians." The volunteers were dispatched to "Indian country," despite warnings from Army officers that they would "hunt the Indians to extermination." They proceeded to slaughter "all the Indians they encountered regardless of age or sex"; their actions were legitimized post facto by the state legislature's awarding of wages for their genocidal work. The combination of "kidnapping, epidemics, statvation, vigilante justice, and state-sanctioned mass killing" virtually annihilated the Yuki, reducing their numbers from the original 20,000 to about 3,500 in 1854, and 168 by 1880.41 Special Treasury Agent J. Ross Browne subsequently wrote:

In the history of the Indian race, I have seen nothing so cruel or relentless as the treatment of those unhappy people by the authority constituted by law for their


Map 3.1 Historian Benjamin Madley, a posrdoctoral fellow ar Darrmouth College, has published prizewinning investigations of systematic violence against Native Americans in the continental United States. This map, his latest (early 2010), is based on archival research and locates fifty massacres from Norrh American colonial and post-colonial history.

Source: Courtesy and copyright Benjamin Madley.


Figure 3.5 US soldiers lo.ul die corpses o( Indian victims of the Wounded Knee massacre for burial in mass graves, December 1890.

Source: Smithsonian Institution National Archives.

protection. Instead of receiving aid and succor they have been starved and driven away from the Reservations and then followed into the remote hiding places where they have sought to die in peace, cruelly slaughtered until that [sic] a few are left and that few without hope.42

James Wilson has likewise called this "a sustained campaign of genocide," and has argued that "more Indians probably died as a result of deliberate, cold-blooded genocide in California than anywhere else in North America."43


Forced relocations of Indian populations often took the form of genocidal death marches, most infamously the "Trails ofTears" of the Cherokee nation and the "Long Walk" of the Navajo, which killed between 20 and 40 percent of the targeted populations en routed The "tribal reservations" to which survivors were consigned exacted their own toll through malnutrition and disease.

Then there were the so-called "residential schools," in which generations of Indian children were incarcerated aftet being removed from their homes and families. The schools operated until recent times; the last one in the US was closed in 1972. In an account of the residential-school experience, titled "Genocide by Any Other Name," Ward Churchill describes the program as



the linchpin of assimilationist aspirations ... in which it was ideally intended that every single aboriginal child would be removed from his or her home, family, community, and culture at the earliest possible age and held for years in state-sponsored "educational" facilities, systematically deculturated, and simultaneously indoctrinated to see her/his own heritage - and him/herself as well - in terms deemed appropriate by a society that despised both to the point of seeking as a matter of policy their utter eradication.45

As Churchill has pointed out, the injunction in the UN Genocide Convention against "forcibly transferring children of the [targeted] group to another group" qualifies this policy as genocidal - and in Australia, where a similar policy was implemented, a government commission found that it met the Convention's definition of genocide (see further below). In addition, there was much that was genocidal in the operation of the North American residential schools apart from the "forcible transfer" of the captive native children. Crucially, "mortality rates in the schools were appalling from the outset," resulting in death rates - from starvation, disease, systematic torture, sexual predation,46 and shattering psychological dislocation - that matched or exceeded the death rates in Nazi concentration camps. In Canada, for example, the 1907 "Bryce Report," submitted by the Indian Department's chief medical officer,

revealed that of the 1,537 children who had attended the sample group of facilities since they'd opened — a period of ten years, on average — 42 per cent had died of "consumption or tuberculosis," either at the schools or shortly after being discharged. Extrapolating, Bryce's data indicated that of the 3,755 native children then under the "care" of Canada's residential schools, 1,614 could be expected to have died a miserable death by the end of 1910. In a follow-up survey conducted in 1909, Bryce collected additional information, all of it corroborating his initial report. At the Qu'Appelle School, the principal, a Father Hugonard, informed Bryce that his facility's record was "something to be proud of" since "only" 153 of the 795 youngstets who'd attended it between 1884 and 1905 had died in school or within two years of leaving it.47

The experience of the residential schools reverberated through generations of native life in Canada and the US. Alcoholism and substance abuse are now increasingly understood to reflect the "worlds of pain" inflicted by residential schooling, and the traumas that Indians in turn inflicted on their own children. Churchill wrote of a "Residential School Syndrome" (RSS) studied in Canada, which

includes acutely conflicted self-concept and lowered self-esteem, emotional numb­ing (often described as "inability to trust or form lasting bonds"), somatic disorder, chronic depression and anxiety (often phobic), insomnia and nightmares, dis­location, paranoia, sexual dysfunction, heightened irritability and tendency to fly into rages, strong tendencies towards alcoholism and drug addiction, and suicidal behavior.48




The cases of the aboriginal populations of British-colonized Australia and German-colonized Namibia further illuminate the fate of indigenous peoples worldwide. In both instances, decades of denial gave way, at the twentieth century's close, to a greater readiness to acknowledge the genocidal character of some colonial actions.


In 1788, the "First Fleet" of British convicts was dumped on Australian soil. Over the ensuing century-and-a-half, the aboriginal population - estimated at about 750,000 when the colonists arrived - was reduced to just 31,000 by 1911. As in North America, the colonists did not arrive in Australia with the explicit intention of exterminating the Aborigines. The destruction inflicted on Australian Aborigines instead reflected a concatenation of ideologies, pressures, and circumstances. Arriving whites were aghast at the state of the Aborigines, and quickly determined that they were (1) barely, if at all, human49 and (2) largely useless. Aboriginal lands, however, were coveted, particularly as convicts began to be freed (but not allowed to return to England) and as new waves of free settlers arrived. As the Australian colonial economy came to center on vast landholdings for sheep-raising and cattle-grazing, expansion into the interior brought colonists into ever-wider and more conflictive contact with the Aborigines. Through direct massacre - "at least 20,000 aborigines, perhaps many more, were killed by the settlers in sporadic frontier skirmishes throughout the nineteenth century and lasting into the late 1920s"50 — Aborigines were driven away from areas of white colonization and from their own sources of sustenance. When they responded with raids on the settlers' cattle stocks, colonists "retaliated" by "surround [ing] an aborigine camp at night, attack [ing] at dawn, and massact[ing] men, women, and children alike."51

Formal colonial policy did not generally favor genocidal measures. Indeed, the original instructions to colonial Governor Arthur Phillip were that he "endeavour by every means in his power to open an intercourse with the natives and to conciliate their goodwill, requiring all persons under his Government to live in amity and kindness with them." But these "benign utterances of far-away governments" con­trasted markedly with "the hard clashes of interest on the spot."52 Colonial officials often turned a blind eye to atrocities against the Aborigines, and failed to intervene effectively to suppress them. The most mutdetous extremes were reached in Queensland, where a state militia — effectively a death squad — was "given carte blanche to go out and pursue niggers' far into the bush and indiscriminately shoot them down - often quite regardless of whether a particular tribal group had been responsible for an alleged wrongdoing or not - with the rape of cornered women inevitably being one unofficially sanctioned perk of these operations."53 Historian Henry Reynolds estimated between 8,000 and 10,000 Aborigines murdered in Queensland from 1824 to 1908.54

Legal discrimination, and the imposition of broader "social death" measures, buttressed these frequent genocidal massacres. Until the late nineteenth century, no



Aborigine was allowed to give testimony in a white mans court, rendering effective legal redress for dispossession and atrocity a practical impossibility. Moreover, extinction discourse took full flight, with the British novelist Anthony Trollope, for example, writing in the 1870s that the Aborigines' "doom is to be exterminated; and the sooner that their doom is accomplished, - so that there can be no cruelty [!], -the better will it be for civilization."55

The combination of clashes between colonists and natives, disease, and exter­mination campaigns was strikingly similar to the North American experience. The destruction of the aboriginal population of the island of Tasmania is often cited as a paradigmatic colonial genocide. The 3,000-15,000 native inhabitants were broken down by the usual traumas of contact, and survivors were dispatched (in a supposedly humanitarian gesture) to barren Flinders Island.56 There "they died, if not directly from observable neglect, bad conditions and European illness, then from alcohol-assisted anomie, homesickness and the pointlessness of it all. Tellingly, there were few and ultimately no births on the island to make up for deaths."57

The destruction was so extensive that many observers contended that the island's aboriginals had been completely annihilated. This appears to have been true for full-blooded aboriginals, one of the last of whom, a woman named Truganini (Figure 3.6), died in 1876. It ignoted, however, aboriginals of mixed blood, thousands of whom live on today.58

As was true for indigenous peoples elsewhere, the twentieth century witnessed not only a demographic revival of the Australian Aborigines but - in the latter half of the century - the emergence of a powerful movement for land rights and restitution. Subsequently, this movement's members worked to publicize the trauma caused by the kidnapping of aboriginal children and their placement in white-run institutional "homes." These were strikingly similar, in their underlying (assimila-tionist) ideology, rampant brutality, and sexual predation, to the "residential schools" imposed upon North American Indians. In response to growing protest about these "stolen generations" of aboriginal children (the title of a landmark 1982 book by Peter

Figure 3.6 Truganini (also known as Trugernanner) (1812-76) was often described as rhe last of the full-blooded aboriginal population of Tasmania, though in fact several may have ourlived her. "Before she was eighreen, her mothet had been killed by whalers, her first fiance died while saving her from abduction, and in 1828, her two sisters, Lowhenunhue and Maggerleede, were abducted and taken to Kangaroo Island, off South Australia and sold as slaves." ("Trugernanner," /wiki/Trugernanner.) Truganini was one of the approximately 200 Abotigines removed to Flinders Island off the Tasmanian coast, where most died from disease between 1833 and 1847. After her death in 1876, Ttuganini's skeleton was displayed by the Royal Society of Tasmania. Only in 1976 were her remains removed and cremated; fragmenrs of her skin and hair housed in the Royal College of Surgeons, UK, were returned for burial in Tasmania in 2002. The date of the photo is uncertain.

Source: Anron Brothers/Wikimedia Commons.



Figure 3.7 February 8, 2008: Children at a school in Perth, Australia, join forces to spell out "Sorry," shortly before the country's prime minister issued a formal apology ro the "Stolen Generations" of aboriginal children. A national "Sorry Day," expressing remorse for Austtalia's treatment of its indigenous population, has become a national institution since it was first launched in 1998.

Source: Courtesy Mark Binns/Flickr.

Read),59 a national commission of inquiry was struck in 1995. Two years later it issued Bringing Them Home, which stated that Australia's policy of transferring aboriginal children constituted genocide according to the UN Convention definition. This claim provoked still-unresolved controversy (and the report's co-author later abjured the term).60 The Australian Prime Minister at the time, John Howard, denounced the "black armband" view of his country's histoty (that is, a focus on negative elements of the Australian and aboriginal experience). However, although many voices were raised in public fora and Australian media generally supported Howaid's rejectionist stance, the report ensured that "the dreaded 'g' word is firmly with us," as Colin Tatz wrote. "Genocide is now in the vocabulary of Australian politics, albeit grudgingly, or even hostilely."61

In February 2008, incoming Labour prime minister Kevin Rudd declared as his government's first act of parliament: "We apologise for the laws and policies of successive parliaments and governments that have inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss on these our fellow Australians. . . . For the pain, suffering and hurt of these stolen generations, their descendants and for their families left behind, we say sorry. 0A




It is now widely acknowledged that the first genocide of the twentieth century was committed by German colonial forces in their near-extermination of the Herero nation in present-day Namibia, which took place during the century's first decade.63

The pattern of colonial invasion and occupation that provoked the Herero uprising was a familiar one. Drawn by the opportunities for cattle ranching, some 5,000 Germans had flooded into the territory by 1903. Colonists' deception, suasion, and violent coercion pushed the Hereros into an ever-narrower portion of their traditional landholdings. In 1904, the Hereros rose up against the Germans. Declaring, "Let us die fighting rather than die as a result of maltreatment, imprison­ment, or some other calamity,"64 Hereros paramount chief Samuel Maharero led his fighters against military outposts and colonists, killing about 120 Germans. This infuriated the German leader Kaiser Wilhelm II, who responded by dispatching the hardline Lt.-Gen. Lothar von Trotha. Von Trotha was convinced that African tribes "are all alike. They only respond to force. It was and is my policy to use force with terrorism and even brutality. I shall annihilate the revolting [rebellious] tribes with rivers of blood and rivers of gold. Only after a complete uprooting will something emerge."65

After five months of sporadic conflict, about 1,600 German soldiers armed with machine guns and cannons decisively defeated the Hereros at the Battle of Waterberg.66 After vanquishing the Hereros, the Getman Army launched a "mass orgy of killing":

Not only were there repeated machine gunnings and cannonades, but Herero men were slowly strangled by fencing wire and then hung up in rows like crows, while young women and girls were regulatly raped before being bayoneted to death. The old, the sick, the wounded were all slaughtered or burnt to death. Nor were children spared, one account describing how men, women and children were corralled into a high thorn and log enclosure before being "doused with lamp oil and burnt to a cinder."67

Survivors fled into the Omahake desert. Von Trotha then issued his notorious "annihilation order" (Vernichtungsbefeht). In it, he pledged that "within the German borders every Herero, with or without a gun, with or without cattle, will be shot. I will no longer accept women and children [as prisoners], I will drive them back to their people or I will let them be shot at."68 The order remained in place for several months, until a domestic outcry led the German Chancellor to rescind it. A con­temporary account described Hereros emerging from the desert "starved to skeletons with hollow eyes, powerless and hopeless."69 They were then moved to concentration camps. "A continuing desire to destroy the Hereros played a part in the German maintenance of such lethal camp conditions," wrote Benjamin Madley; he noted elsewhere that "according to official German figures, of 15,000 Hereros and 2,200 Namas incarcerated in camps, some 7,700 or 45 percent perished."70 (In October 1904, another tribal nation, the Namas, also rose up in revolt against German rule and was crushed, with approximately half the population killed. Many scholars thus refer to the genocide of the Hereros and Namas.)



Figure 3.8 Famished Hereros after emerging from rhe C desert in Namibia, c. 1907.

Source: Ullstein Bilderdienst, Berlin/Wikimedia Commons.

Figure 3.9 Conditions in the Shark Island concentration camp inflicted death tolls on Hereros and Namas that were comparable to Nazi slave labor camps. Today the island is a tourist campsite.

Source: Dr. Klaus Dierks/.

A comparative and global-historical approach to genocide allows us to perceive important connections between campaigns of mass killing and group destruction that are widely separated in time and space. Scholarship on the genocide against the Hereros provides an excellent example. It is increasingly acknowledged that it paved the way, in important respects, for the prototypical mass slaughter of that century -Nazi mass murder (Chapter 6 and Box 6a). As summarized by Madley:

The Herero genocide was a crucial antecedent to Nazi mass murder. It created the Getman word Konzentrationslager [concentration camp] and the twentieth century's first death camp. Like Nazi mass murder, the Namibian genocides were premised upon ideas like Lebensraum [living space], annihilation war [ Vernichtungskrieg\, and German racial supremacy. Individual Nazis were also linked to colonial Namibia. Hermann Goering, who built the first Nazi concentration camps, was the son of the first governor of colonial Namibia. Eugen Fischer, who influenced Hitler and ran the institute that supported Joseph Mengele's medical "research" at Auschwitz, conducted racial studies in the colony. And Ritter von Epp, godfather of the Nazi party and Nazi governor of Bavaria from 1933-1945, led German troops against the Herero during the genocide.71

Following the independence of Namibia in 1990 (from South Africa, which had conquered the territory during the First World War), survivors' descendants called on Germany to apologize for the Herero genocide, and provide reparations. In August 2004 — the centenary of the Herero uprising — the German development-aid minister, Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul, attended a ceremony at Okakarara in the region of Otjozondjupa, where the conflict had formally ended in 1906. The minister eloquently stated that:



A century ago, the oppressors — blinded by colonialist fervour — became agents of violence, discrimination, racism and annihilation in Germany's name. The atrocities committed at that time would today be termed genocide — and nowadays a General von Trotha would be prosecuted and convicted. We Germans accept out historical and moral responsibility and the guilt incutred by Germans at that time. And so, in the words of the Lord's Prayer that we share, I ask you to forgive us.72

Of Wieczorek-Zeul's declaration, Jiirgen Zimmerer wrote: "To my knowledge it is the first and only apology by a high-ranking member of the government of a former colonial power referring to genocide for colonial crimes."73 Moves were afoot early in 2010 to offer millions of euros in reparations in the form of German development aid aimed at traditionally Herero regions of Namibia.


I celebrated Thanksgiving in an old-fashioned way. I invited everyone in my neigh­borhood to my house, we had an enormous feast, and then I killed them and took their land.

Jon Stewart, US comedian

Denial is regularly condemned as the final stage of genocide (see Chapter 14). How, then, are we to class the mocking or celebrating of genocide? These are sadly not uncommon responses, and they are nowhere more prominent than with tegard to genocides of indigenous peoples.

Among most sectors of informed opinion in the Americas - from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego — the notion that indigenous peoples experienced genocide at the hands of their white conquerors is dismissed and derided.74 In a September 2001 post to the H-Genocide academic mailing list, Professor Alexander Bielakowski of the University of Findlay engaged in what seemed outright genocidal denial, writing that "if [it] was the plan" to "wipe out the American Indians . . . the US did a damn poor job following through with it."75 This is a curious way to describe the annihilation of up to 98 percent of the indigenous population of the United States over three centuries. The fine British historian Michael Burleigh took a similarly flippant jab in his book Ethics andExtermination, scoffing at notions of "the 'disappearance' of the [Australian] Aboriginals or Native Americans, some of whose descendants mysteri­ously seem to be running multi-million dollar casinos."76 How can a tiny Indian elite be considered representative of the pootest, shortest-lived ethnic minority in the US and Canada?

Celebrations of indigenous genocide also have no clear parallel in mainstream discourse. Thus one finds prominent essayist Christopher Hitchens desctibing protests over the Columbus quincentenary (1992) as "an ignorant celebration of stasis and backwardness, with an unpleasant tinge of self-hatred." For Hitchens, the desttuction of Native American civilization was simply "the way that history is made, and to complain about it is as empty as complaint about climatic, geological or tectonic shift." He justified the conquest on classic utilitarian grounds:



It is sometimes unambiguously the case that a certain coincidence of ideas, tech­nologies, population movements and politico-military victories leaves humanity on a slightly higher plane than it knew before. The transformation of part of the northern part of this continent into "America" inaugurated a nearly boundless epoch of opportunity and innovation, and thus deserves to be celebrated with great vim and gusto, with or without the participation of those who wish they had never been born.77

The arrogance and contempt in these comments are echoed in the pervasive appro­priation of Indian culture and nomenclature by North American white culture. Note, for example, the practice of adopting ersatz Indian names and motifs for professional sports teams. James Wilson has argued that calling a Washington, DC football franchise the "Redskins" is "roughly the equivalent of calling a team 'the Buck Niggers' or 'the Jewboys.'"78 Other acts of appropriation include naming gas-guzzling vehicles (the Winnebago, the Jeep Cherokee) after Indian nations, so that peoples famous for their respectful custodianship of the environment are instead associated with technologies that damage it. This is carried to extremes with the grafting of Indian names onto weaponry, as with the Apache attack helicopter and the Tomahawk cruise missile. In Madley's opinion, such nomenclature "casts Indians as threatening and dangerous," subtly providing "a post-facto justification for the violence committed against them."79


Several of the complicating factors in evaluating the genocide of indigenous peoples have been noted. Prime among them is the question of intent.

Specific intent (see pp. 37-38) is easy enough to adduce in the consistent tendency towards massacre and physical extermination, evident from the earliest days of European conquest of the Americas, Africa, Australasia, and other parts of the world. Yet in most or perhaps all cases, this accounted for a minority of deaths among the colonized peoples.

The forced-labor institutions of Spanish America also demonstrated a high degree of specific intent. When slaves are dying in large numbers, after only a few months in the mines or on the plantations, and your response is not to improve conditions but to feed more human lives into the inferno, this is direct, "first-degree" genocide (in Ward Churchill's conceptualizing; see Chapter 1, note 96). The mechanisms of death were not appreciably different from those of many Nazi slave-labor camps.

Disease was the greatest killer. Here, specific intent arguably prevailed only in the direct acts of biological warfare against Indian nations. More significant was a general genocidal intent, with disease tolls greatly exacerbated by malnutrition, overwork, and outright enslavement.80 In some cases, though, entire Indian nations were virtually wiped out by pathogens before they had ever set eyes on a European. In addition, many of the connections between lack of hygiene, overcrowding, and the spread of disease were poorly understood for much of the period of the attack on indigenous peoples. Concepts of second- and third-degree genocide might apply here, if one supports Churchill's framing.



Further complexity arises in the agents of the killing. Genocide studies emphasizes the role of the state as the central agent of genocide, and one does find a great deal of state-planned, state-sponsored, and state-directed killing of indigenous peoples. In many and perhaps most cases, however, the direct perpetrators of genocide were colonial settlers rather than authorities. Indeed, colonists often protested the alleged lack of state support and assistance in confronting "savages." To the extent that policies were proposed to halt the destruction of native peoples, it was often those in authority who proposed them, though effective measures were rarely implemented. Measures were taken, as at Flinders Island, to "protect" and "preserve" aboriginal groups, but these often contributed to the genocidal process. As Colin Tatz has pointed out, "nowhere does the [Genocide] Convention implicitly or explicitly rule out intent with bona fides, good faith, 'for their own good' or 'in their best interests.'"81

Helpful here might be historian Patrick Wolfe's notion of a "logic of elimi­nation,"82 and Tony Barta's influential concept of the "genocidal society — as distinct from a genocidal state." This is defined as a society "in which the whole bureaucratic apparatus might officially be directed to protect innocent people but in which a whole race is nevertheless subject to remorseless pressures of destruction inherent in the very nature of the society."83 The nature of settler colonialism, in other words, made conflict with native peoples, and their eventual large-scale destruction, almost inevitable. As Mark Levene has phrased it, while benevolent intentions sometimes existed, "the problem was that these good intentions were at odds with the very colonial project itself." Whenever push came to shove, "the 'Anglo' state always ultimately sided with the interests of capital, property and development, whatever the murderous ramifications."84 State authorities, though they might occasionally have decried acts of violence against natives, were above all concerned with ensuring that

Figure 3.10 Nahua victims of a sixteenth-century smallpox epidemic in Mexico, with the distinctive vomiting and spotted appearance of the infected.

Source: Nahua artist in the Florentine Codex compiled by Fray Bernardino de Sahagiin in the sixteenth century/Wikimedia Commons.



the colonial or post-colonial endeavor succeeded. As one British House of Commons committee reported in the 1830s, "Whatever may have been the injustice of this encroachment [on indigenous lands], there is no reason to suppose that either justice or humanity would now be consulted by receding from it."85 If the near-annihilation of the indigenous population nonetheless resulted, this was sometimes lamented (perhaps with romantic and nostalgic overtones, as described in Brantlinger's Dark Vanishings), but it was never remotely sufficient to warrant the cancellation or serious revision of the enterprise.86

A few other ambiguous features of genocides against indigenous peoples may be cited. First, the prevailing elite view of history has tended to underestimate the role of the millions of people who migrated from the colonial metropole to the "New World." These settlers and/or administrators were critical to the unfolding of the genocides, not only through the diseases they carried, but (notably in Australasia) through the massacres they authorized and implemented.87 It should not be for­gotten, however, that many of them were fleeing religious persecution or desperate material want. Think of the millions of Irish who abandoned their homeland during the Great Hunger of 1846-48, or the English convicts shipped off for minor crimes to penal colonies in the Antipodes. Settlers and administrators often suffered dreadful mortality rates. As with the indigenous population, death usually resulted from exposure to pathogens to which they had no resistance. To cite an extreme example, "it is said that 6,040 died out of the total of 7,289 immigrants who had come to Virginia by February, 1625, or around 83 percent."88 Elsewhere, "tropical maladies turn[ed] assignments to military stations, missions, or government posts into death watches."89

Finally, we should be careful not to romanticize indigenous peoples and their precontact societies. To limit the discussion to the Americas: it was broadly true that genocide, and war unto genocide, featured only rarely. War among North American Indian communities (excluding present-day Mexico) was generally "farre lesse bloudy and devouring than the cruell Warres of Europe," as one European observer put it.90 But there were notable exceptions. According to genocide scholars Daniel Chirot and Clark McCauley, "Before widespread contact with the Europeans, warfare among the stateless societies of [the North American northwest], ranging from Puget Sound through the coasts of British Columbia and into the Alaskan panhandle, was frequent and bloody, with exterminations of whole tribes, except for those taken as slaves, not uncommon."91 Aboriginal slavery institutions could also be genocidal; of the Indians of the same northwest coastal region, sociologist Orlando Patterson has written that "nothing in the annals of slavery" can match them "for the number of excuses a master had for killing his slaves and the sheer sadism with which he destroyed them."92 Post-contact warfare also assumed a virulent form, as with the Itoquois territorial expansion of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, which anthropologist Jeffrey Blick has studied as a case of genocide.93

Mass violence seems to have been more pervasive among the native populations of Central America and Mexico, at least during certain periods. In the classic era of Mayan civilization (600-900 CE), war seems to have been waged with frequency and sometimes incessantly; many scholars now link endemic conflict to the collapse of the great Mayan cities, and the classical civilization along with it. The Aztecs of



Mexico, meanwhile, warred to capture prisoners for religious sacrifice, sometimes thousands at a time, at their great temple in Tenochtitlan. The Aztecs so ravaged and alienated surrounding nations that these subjects enthusiastically joined with invading Spanish forces to destroy them.

Collaboration with the colonizing force, often arising from and exacerbating the tensions of indigenous international relations, was quite common throughout the hemisphere.94 Soon Indians, too, became participants in genocidal wars against other Indian nations - and sometimes against members of the colonizing society as well. Reference has already been made (Chapter 1) to subaltern genocide, in which oppressed peoples adopt genocidal strategies against their oppressors. Latin America offers several examples, studied in detail by historian Nicholas Robins in Native Insurgencies and the Genocidal Impulse in the Americas?5The millenarian "Great Rebellion" in Upper Peru (Bolivia) in the 1780s explicitly aimed to slaughter or expel all white people from the former Inca realm. In Mexico's Yucatan peninsula in the mid-nineteenth century, Mayan Indians rose to extirpate the territory's whites or drive them into the sea.96 In both cases, the genocidal project advanced some distance before the whites launched a successful (and genocidal) counter-attack. I believe we can sympathize with the enormous and often mortal pressure placed upon indigenous peoples, while still recognizing that a genocidal counter-strategy sometimes resulted.


As the Guatemala case study (Box 3a) demonstrates, assaults on indigenous peoples

— including genocide — are by no means confined to distant epochs. According to Ken Coates, "the era from the start of World War II through to the 1960s . . . [was] an era of unprecedented aggression in the occupation of indigenous lands and, backed by the equally unprecedented wealth and power of the industrial world, the systematic dislocation of thousands of indigenous peoples around the world."97 In many regions, invasions and occupations by colonists and corporations, seeking to exploit indigenous lands and resources, continues. And in the "developed world"

- Canada, the US, Australasia - the situation of indigenous peoples "is as deplorable as in the very poorest [parts] of the third world."98 Measured in life expectancy, malnutrition, vulnerability to infectious disease, and many other basic indices, indigenous peoples in most of the countries they inhabit are the most marginalized and deprived of all.99

No less than in past periods, however, invasion, deprivation, and attempted domination have fueled indigenous resistance. In recent decades, this has assumed the new form of a global indigenous mobilization. The "indigenous revival" is linked to decolonization. It also reflects the development of human-rights philosophies and legislation - particularly in the period following the Second World War, when numerous rights instruments were developed (including the UN Genocide Convention). Decolonization brought to fruition the pledges of self-determination that had featured in the charter of the League of Nations, but had withered in the face of opposition from colonial powers. But this was liberation from domination



by external colonial forces. As Niezen has pointed out, the horrors of the Nazi era in Europe "contributed to a greater receptiveness at the international level to measures for the protection of minorities," given the increasing recognition "that states could not always be relied upon to protect their own citizens, that states could even pass laws to promote domestic policies of genocide."100 At the same time as this realization was gaining ground, so was an acceptance among the diverse colonized peoples that they were members of a global indigenous class. The United Nations, which in 1960 declared self-determination to be a human tight, became a powerful forum for the expression of indigenous aspirations, particularly with the creation in 1982 of a Working Group on Indigenous Populations in the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). Attending a session of the working group, Australian aboriginal repre­sentative Mick Dodson described his dawning recognition that "We were all part of a world community of Indigenous peoples spanning the planet; experiencing the same problems and struggling against the same alienation, marginalisation and sense of powerlessness."101

Figure 3.11 Belem, Brazil, January 2009: men from a coalition of Indian groups stage a ptotest against health conditions in their communities. Centuries after the initial rounds of Western conquest and genocide, indigenous groups remain among the shottest-lived and most economically impoverished populations in theit tespective nation-states. But recent decades have witnessed mounting resistance to these conditions, patt of the global resurgence and revitalization of indigenous societies and identities.

Source: Fabio Rodrigues Pozzebom/Agencia Brasil/Wikimedia Commons.



An event of great significance in the Western hemisphere was the first Continental Indigenous International Convention, held in Quito, Ecuador in July 1990, and "attended by four hundred representatives from 120 indigenous nations and organizations."102 Simultaneously, the number of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) grew exponentially, so that by 2000 the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights could cite some 441 organizations of indigenous peoples world­wide. And indigenous peoples in many parts of the world strove to use the "master's tools" - the educational and legal systems of the dominant society - to reclaim the lands, political rights, and cultural autonomy stripped from them by their colonial conquerors.

At the national level, the impact of these movements is increasingly far-reaching. In the United States, an ever-greater number of individuals are choosing to self-identify as Native Americans,103 and more and more narive nations are petitioning for federal recognition; an "Indigenous Peoples' Day" has supplanted Columbus Day in some US cities. In Latin America, the impact has been more dramatic still. Indigenous peoples in Ecuador and Bolivia have "converged in mass mobilizations, breathtaking in their scale and determination," that overthrew governments and ushered in "a new revolutionary moment in which indigenous actots have acquired the leading role," led by current president Evo Morales.104 In Mexico on January 1, 1994, indigenous peoples in the poverty-stricken southern state of Chiapas rose up in revolt against central authotities - the so-called Zapatista rebellion - protesting the disastrous impact on the native economy of cheap, subsidized corn exports from the US under the recently signed North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The Zapatistas have since established substantial local autonomy in their zone of control.

On September 13, 2007, nearly nine in ten member states of the United Nations General Assembly voted in favor of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The document expressed its concern "that indigenous peoples have suffered from historic injustices as a result of, inter alia [among other things], their coloniza­tion and dispossession of their lands, territories and resources, thus preventing them from exercising, in particular, their right to development in accordance with their own needs and interests. . ." In refutation of these imperial strategies, the declaration emphasized that:

Indigenous peoples have the right to the full enjoyment, as a collective or as individuals, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms as recognized in the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and international human rights law. . . . Indigenous peoples and individuals are free and equal to all other peoples and individuals and have the right to be free from any kind of discrimination, in the exercise of their rights, in particular that based on their indigenous origin or identity. . . . Indigenous peoples have the right to self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development. . . . Indigenous peoples, in exercising their right to self-determination, have the right to autonomy or self-government in matters relating to their internal and local affairs, as well as ways and means for financing their autonomous functions. . . .



Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain and strengthen their distinct political, legal, economic, social and cultutal institutions, while retaining their right to participate fully, if they so choose, in the political, economic, social and cultural life of the State.105

Despite the historic nature of the declatation, there were some notable holdouts among UN member states. Not surprisingly, the most prominent opponents — the only ones voting against the declaration — were delegates of countries responsible for some of the most brazen acts of colonial invasion and dispossession: the United States, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia.106


Patrick Brantlinger, Dark Vanishings: Discourse on the Extinction of Primitive Races,

1800-1930. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2003. Examines European

attitudes towards "primitive" races and their extinction. Dee Brown, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West.

New York: Owl Books, 2001. First published in 1971, and still a classic

introduction to the native North American experience. Bartolome de las Casas, A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies. London:

Penguin, 1992. First published in 1552: a Spanish friar's unrelenting description

of colonial depredations in the Americas. Alfred A. Cave, The Pequot War. Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press,

1996. Definitive wotk on the Pequot genocide. Ward Churchill, A Little Matter of Genocide: Holocaust and Denial in the Americas,

1492 to the Present. San Francisco, CA: City Lights Books, 1997. Forceful and

well-documented polemic, with attention to genocide as a legal and academic


Ken S. Coates, A Global History of Indigenous Peoples: Struggle and Survival.

Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004. A solid introduction, especially good on

the Second World War and the postwar era. Mark Cocker, Rivers of Blood, Rivers of Gold: Europe's Conquest of Indigenous Peoples.

New York: Grove Press, 2001. Comprehensive survey, ranging from the Americas

to Africa and Australasia. Mary Crow Dog with Richard Erdoes, Lakota Woman. New York: HarperPerennial,

1991. Rich memoir by a Native American activist. Richard Drinnon, FacingWest: The Metaphysics ofLndian Hating and Empire Building.

New York: Schocken Books, 1990. The racist ideology underlying US wars

against American Indians, Filipinos, and Indochinese. Jan-Bart Gewald, Herero Heroes: A Socio-political History of the Herero of Namibia,

1890-1923. Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 2001. Study of the Herero

genocide and its aftermath. Francis Jennings, The Invasion of America: Indians, Colonialism, and the Cant of

Conquest. New York: WW Norton, 1975. Early, widely cited account of the

formative period of white-Indian interaction in North America.



Sven Lindqvist, "Exterminate All the Brutes": One Man's Odyssey into the Heart of Darkness and the Origins of European Genocide. New York: The New Press, 1996. Epigrammatic meditation on the links between colonialism and Nazi genocide.

Marijo Moore, ed., Genocide of the Mind: New Native American Writing. New York: Thunder's Mouth Press/Nation Books, 2003. Soul-searching reflections by native writers.

Alan Moorehead, The Fatal Impact: The Invasion of the South Pacific, 1767-1840.

New York: HarperCollins, 1990. First published in 1966, this remains a moving

introduction to the devastation of Pacific indigenous peoples. A. Dirk Moses, ed., Genocide and Settler Society: Frontier Violence and Stolen Indigenous

Children in Australian History. New York: Berghahn Books, 2004. Seminal

collection of essays.

Ronald Niezen, The Origins ofIndigenism: Human Rights and the Politics of Identity.

Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2003. The growth of contemporary

indigenous identities and movements. Nicholas Robins, Native Insurgencies and the Genocidal Impulse in the Americas.

Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2005. Groundbreaking study of

Indian millenarian movements that adopted genocidal strategies against the

European invader.

David E. Stannard, American Holocaust: The Conquest of the New World. New York:

Oxford University Press, 1992. Perhaps the most enduring of the works published

for the Columbus quincentenary. Russell Thornton, American Indian Holocaust and Survival: A Population History

since 1492. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1990. Foundational

text on the demographic impact of European conquest and colonization. James Wilson, The Earth Shall Weep: A History of Native America. New York: Atlantic

Monthly Press, 1998. Fine overview of the native experience in North America. Ronald Wright, Stolen Continents: The "New World" Through Indian Eyes. Boston,

MA: Houghton Mifflin, 1993. Examines the conquest throughout the Western

hemisphere from the perspective of its victims. Geoffrey York, The Dispossessed: Life and Death in Native Canada. London: Vintage

UK, 1990. Harrowing journalistic account of poverty and cultural dislocation

among Canada's native peoples.


1 For concise overviews, see Robert K. Hitchcock and Tara M. Twedt, "Physical and Cultural Genocide of Various Indigenous Peoples," in Samuel Totten etal, eds, Century of Genocide: Eyewitness Accounts and Critical Views (New York: Garland Publishing, 1997), pp. 372-407; and Elazar Barkan, "Genocides of Indigenous Peoples: Rhetoric of Human Rights," in Robert Gellately and Ben Kiernan, eds, The Specter of Genocide: Mass Murder in Historical Perspective (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), pp. 117-40.

2 Ronald Niezen, The Origins of Indigenism: Human Rights and the Politics of Identity (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2003), p. 18.



3 Quoted in ibid., p. 20.

4 However, some have criticized definitions that emphasize colonialism as being too Eurocentric, denying agency to indigenous peoples, and overlooking imperial conquests by non-Westet n societies. See, e.g., Ken S. Coates,^4 Global History of Indigenous Peoples: Struggle and Survival (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004), pp. 8-9.

5 See Benjamin Madley, "Patterns of Frontier Genocide, 1803-1910: The Aboriginal Tasmanians, the Yuki of California, and the Herero ofNamibia," journal of Genocide Research, 4: 2 (2004), p. 168.

6 Sven Lindqvist, "Exterminate All the Brutes": One Man's Odyssey into the Heart of Darkness and the Origins of European Genocide (New York: The New Press, 1996), p. 123.

7 Twain quoted in Patrick Brantlinger, Dark Vanishings: Discourse on the Extinction of Primitive Races, 1800-1930 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell Univetsity Press, 2001), p. 10. Twain's complete essay on "The Noble Red Man," originally published in The Galaxy in 1870, is available on the Web at /Galaxy/187009c. html.

8 Wallace quoted in Brantlinger, Dark Vanishings, pp. 185-86. President Andrew Jackson, one of the gteat tormentors of indigenous populations in US history, noted that "humanity has often wept over the fate of the aborigines of this country," and indeed, "to follow to the tomb the last of [this] race and to tread on the graves of extinct nations excite melancholy reflections. But," Jackson declared, "true philanthropy reconciles the mind to these vicissitudes as it does the extinction of one genetation to make toom for another." Jackson quoted in A. Dirk Moses, "Empire, Colony, Genocide: Keywords and the Philosophy of History," in Moses, ed., Empire, Colony, Genocide: Conquest, Occupation, and Subaltern Resistance in World History (New York: Betghahn Books, 2008), p. 19.

9 Btantlinger, Dark Vanishings, p. 186.

10 Lindqvist, "Exterminate All theBrutes,''p. 9.

11 Richard L. Rubenstein, The Age of Triage: Fear and Hope in an Overcrowded World (Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 1983), p. 1.

12 Ward Churchill, A Little Matter of Genocide: Holocaust and Denial in the Americas, 1492 to the Present (San Francisco, CA: City Lights Books, 1997), p. 97.

13 Russel Lawrence Barsh points to the concentration of Indians on "reservations" (a system that "undoubtedly brought chronic malnutrition to a great proportion of Noith Ametica's indigenous population"), destruction of forests, and denial of access to clean water as additional factors promoting high Indian mortality (his analysis concentrates on the later nineteenth century). See Barsh, "Ecocide, Nutrition, and the 'Vanishing Indian,'" in Pierre L. van den Berghe, ed., State Violence and Ethnicity (Niwot, CO: University Press of Colorado, 1990), pp. 224, 231, 239.

14 See Elizabeth A. Fenn, "Biological Watfate in Eighteenth-century North America: Beyond Jeffery Amherst," The Journal of American History, 86: 4 (March 2000), pp. 1552-80.

15 On the North American variant, see Eony Seybert, "Slavery and Native Americans in British North America and the United States: 1600 to 1865," http://www.slavery /history/hs_es_indians_slavery.htm.

16 David E. Stannard, American Holocaust: The Conquest of the New World (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992), p. 54.

17 Bartolome de las Casas, A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies (London: Penguin, 1992), p. 15. Raphael Lemkin praised las Casas for efforts that "went much beyond the ordinary ecclesiastic opposition to genocide in the Indies; he preached a doctrine of humanitarianism which was actually beyond the values of his own time." Quoted in John Docker, "Are Settler-Colonies Inherently Genocidal?," in Moses, ed., Empire, Colony, Genocide, p. 92. Howevet, whethet las Casas was truly "beyond the values" of his era is questionable, since others advanced similar values



- sometimes in an even more rigorous way. While las Casas did accept the basic fight of Spain to occupy territories in the Americas and incorporate their populations, his contemporary Francesco de Vitoria (1485-1546) rejected this utterly: "it is cleat . . . that the Spaniatds, when they fitst sailed to the land of the barbarians [sic], carried with them no right at all to occupy their countries." The contributions of Hugo Grotius (1583-1645) and Samuel von Pufendorf (1632-1694) are also vital in demonstrating that far from being a universally held norm, a sophisticated contemporary critique of Western imperialism existed. For a cogent discussion, see Andtew Fitzmautice, "Anticolonialism in Western Political Thought: The Colonial Origins of the Concept of Genocide," in Moses, ed., Empire, Colony, Genocide, pp. 55-80 (Vitoria quoted p. 58).

18 De las Casas, A Short Account, p. 24.

19 James Wilson, The Earth Shall Weep: A History of Native America (New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1998), p. 34.

20 Ibid., p.35.

21 Stannard, American Holocaust, p. 89.

22 Toribio de Motolinia quoted in Luis N. Rivera, A Violent Evangelism: The Politics and Religious Conquest of the Americas (Louisville, KY: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1992), p. 170. Thanks to Tanya Nelson for this source.

23 See, e.g., Alvaro Kaempfer, "Lastarria, Bello y Sarmiento en 1844: Genocidio, historio-grafta y proyecto nacional," Revista de Critica Literaria Latinoamericana, 32: 63—64 (2006), pp. 9-24; Flotencia Roulet, "Genocidio en las Pampas. Cronica de una polemica abortada," Argentina Indymedia, February 11, 2005, / news/2005/02/264061 .php.

24 On the forced relocation of Seneca Indians to flood land for the Kinzua Dam project in Pennsylvania, see Joy A. Bilharz, The Allegany Senecas and Kinzua Dam: Forced Relocation through Two Generations (Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 1998).

25 See also the essay on Buffy Sainte-Marie's song by Ward Churchill, '"A Bargain Indeed,'" in Adam Jones, ed., Evoking Genocide: Scholars and Activists Describe the Works That Shaped Their Lives (Toronto, ON: The Key Publishing House Inc., 2009), pp. 18-22.

26 Russell Thornton, American Indian Holocaust and Survival: A Population History since 1492 (Notman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1987), p. 44.

27 Churchill, A little Matter of Genocide, p. 97.

28 Testimony cited in Thornton, American Indian Holocaust and Survival, p. 95.

29 Amherst quoted in Ben Kiernan, Blood and Soil: A World History of Genocide and Extermination from Sparta to Darfur (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2007), p. 245.

30 See Norbert Finzsch,'"[. . . ] Extirpate ot Remove That Vermine': Genocide, Biological Warfare, and Settler Imperialism in the Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Century," foumal of Genocide Research, 10: 2 (2008), pp. 215-32.

31 Thornton, American Indian Holocaust and Survival, p. 51 •

32 Wilson, The Earth Shall Weep, p. 283; see also Coates, A Global History, p. 128.

33 Thornton, American Indian Holocaust and Survival, p. 95.

34 On the Pequot War and its genocidal core, see Alfred A. Cave, The Pequot War (Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press, 1996); Michael Freeman, "Puritans and Pequots: The Question of Genocide," New England Quarterly, 68 (1995), pp. 278-93; "'We Must Burn Them,'" ch. 13 in Francis Jennings, The Invasion of America: Indians, Colonialism, and the Cant of Conquest (New York: W.W. Norton, 1975), pp. 202-27.

35 Wilson, The Earth Shall Weep, p. 94.

36 Karl Jacoby, Shadows at Dawn, quoted in Tim Morrison, "A Massacre Explained," Time, Monday, November 24, 2008, http://www.time.eom/time/arts/article/0,8599, 1861448,00.html. Emphasis in original.



37 Chivington quoted in Michael Mann, The Dark Side of Democracy: Explaining Ethnic Cleansing (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), p. 98.

38 Connor quoted in Wilson, The Earth Shall Weep, p. 274. See also the description in Mark Levene, Genocide in the Age of the Nation State, Vol. 2: The Rise of the West and the Coming of Genocide (London: LB. Tauris, 2005), pp. 93-94.

39 Roosevelt quoted in Paul R. Bartrop, "Punitive Expeditions and Massacres: Gippsland, Colorado, and the Question of Genocide," in A. Dirk Moses, ed., Genocide and Settler Society: Frontier Violence and Stolen Indigenous Children in Australian History (New York: Berghahn Books, 2004), p. 209.

40 Wilson, The Earth Shall Weep, p. 228.

41 These figures were provided by Benjamin Madley, a leading authority on the Yuki genocide. See Madley's atticle, "California's Yuki Indians: Defining Genocide in Native American History," The Western Historical Quarterly, 39: 3 (2008), pp. 303-32.

42 Frank Chalk and Kurt Jonassohn, The History and Sociology of Genocide (New Haven, CT: Yale Univetsity Press, 1990), pp. 197-99.

43 Wilson, The Earth Shall Weep, pp. 228, 231.

44 "The Trail Where They Cried," translated from Cherokee (Coates, A Global History, p. 185). For a detailed account, see John Ehle, Trail of Tears: The Rise and Fall of the Cherokee Nation (New York: Doubleday, 1988).

45 Ward Churchill, "Genocide by Any Other Name: North American Indian Residential Schools in Context," in Adam Jones, ed., Genocide, War Crimes and the West: History and Complicity (London: Zed Books, 2004), p. 87.

46 Canada's Ministry of National Health and Welfare cited evidence in 1993 that "100% of the childten at some [residential] schools were sexually abused between 1950 and 1980" {The Globe and Mail); in the United States a "wall of silence" still surrounds this subject. Churchill, "Genocide by Any Other Name," pp. 104-5.

47 Ibid., p. 97. See also Debora Mackenzie, "Canada Probes TB 'Genocide' in Church-Run Schools," New Scientist, May 5, 2007. Andrew Woolford's judgment is notable: "Tuberculosis was rampant through many residential schools until the 1940s, and repotts suggest that the staff at these schools did little to help the infected children. Susceptibility to this and othet diseases was increased by the poor nutrition and inade­quate clothing provided to students. In addition, there ate reports of students' being required to bunk with others who were infected. With death tolls from tuberculosis reaching as high as 50% in some schools, any claim that this was simply 'natural' is exposed as disingenuous at best." Woolford, "Ontological Destruction: Genocide and Canadian Aboriginal Peoples," Genocide Studies and Prevention, 4: 1 (Aptil 2009), pp. 90-91.

48 Churchill, "Genocide by Any Other Name," pp. 105-6.

49 "Whites spoke of Aborigines as 'horribly disgusting,' lacking 'any traces of civilization,' 'constituting in a measure the link between the man and the monkey tribe,' of 'undoubtedly in the lowest possible scale of human nature, both in form and intellect.'" Madley, "Patterns of Frontier Genocide," p. 169.

50 Mann, The Dark Side of Democracy, p. 80.

51 Ibid., p. 81.

52 Colin Tatz, "Genocide in Australia," AIATSIS Research Discussion Papers No. 8, 1999, /gst/genocide/tatz.html.

53 Levene, Genocide in the Age of the Nation State, Vol. 2, p. 75.

54 Reynolds cited in Ben Kiernan, Blood and Soil: A World History of Genocide and Extermination from Sparta to Darfur (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2007), p. 308.

55 Trollope quoted in Mark Cocker, Rivers of Blood, Rivers of Gold: Europe's Conquest of hidigenous Peoples (New York: Grove Press, 2001), p. 178.

56 Benjamin Madley, "From Terror to Genocide: Britain's Tasmanian Penal Colony and Australia's History Wars," journal of British Studies, 47 (2008), p. 78 (fn. 7).



57 Levene, Genocide in the Age of the Nation State, Vol. 2, p. 42. The exterminatory char­acter of the Flinders system was acknowledged in 1999 by the Tasmanian Premier, Jim Bacon, who referred to the Wybalenna concentration camp as "a site of genocide." Quoted in Madley, "Patterns of Frontier Genocide," p. 175. Madley added (p. 176): "From the outset, British authorities knew that conditions on Flinders Island were lethal. Inaction despite cleat warnings and high mortality rates suggests that population decline was government policy, or was considered preferable to tetuming the survivors to their homes. ... In 1836 the commander of Launceston visited Flindets Island and warned that if conditions were not improved, 'the race of Tasmania . . . will ... be extinct in a quatter of a century.' . . . Still, the government did not address the issues contributing to mortalities. In fact, they operated Flinders Island with virtually no policy amendments for over a decade, until closing the reserve in 1847. The colonial government may not have planned to kill large numbers of Aborigines on Flinders Island, but they did little to stop mass death when they were clearly responsible for it."

58 Madley, "From Terror to Genocide," p. 104.

59 Peter Read, The Stolen Generations: The Removal of Aboriginal Children in NSW, 1883-1969 (Sydney: Government Printer, 1982); revised edition available on the Web at http://www.daa.nsw.gov.au/publications/StolenGenerations.pdf.

60 "With hindsight, I think it was a mistake to use the word genocide . . . once you latch onto the term 'genocide,' you're arguing about the intent and we should never have used it." Sir Ronald Wilson, quoted in Robert van Krieken, "Cultural Genocide in Australia," in Dan Stone, ed., The Historiography of Genocide (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008), p. 130. For more on the international law surrounding forcible child transfer, see Kurt Mundorff, "Other Peoples' Children: A Textual and Contextual Interpretation of Article 2(e) of the Genocide Convention," Harvard International Law Journal, 50: 1 (2009), pp. 61-127.

61 Colin Tatz, With Intent to Destroy: Reflecting on Genocide (London: Verso, 2003), p. xvi.

62 "Text of Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's Apology to Aborigines," The Hindu, February 13, 2008. /nic/auspmapology.htm.

63 Fot a solid overview, see Jon Bridgman and Leslie J. Worley, "Genocide of the Hereros," ch. 1 in Totten et al,eds, Century of Genocide, pp. 3-40.

64 Maharero quoted in Mark Levene, Genocide in the Age of the Nation State, Vol. 2: The Rise of the West and the Coming of Genocide (London: LB. Tauris, 2005), p. 248.

65 Von Trotha quoted in Jon Bridgman, The Revolt of the Hereros (New York: Berkeley, 1981), pp. 111-12.

66 Benjamin Madley, "From Africa to Auschwitz: How German South West Africa Incubated Ideas and Methods Adopted and Developed by the Nazis in Eastern Europe," European Historical Quarterly, 35: 3 (2005), p. 430.

67 Levene, Genocide in the Age of the Nation State, Vol. 2, p. 234.

68 Von Trotha quoted in Jan-Bart Gewald, "Imperial Germany and the Herero of Southern Africa: Genocide and the Quest for Recompense," in Jones, ed., Genocide, War Crimes and the West, p. 61.

69 Quoted in Gewald, "Imperial Germany and the Herero," p. 62.

70 Madley, "Patterns of Frontier Genocide," p. 188; Madley, "From Africa to Auschwitz," p. 181.

71 Benjamin Madley, personal communication, September 30, 2005.

72 Wieczorek-Zeul quoted in Jiirgen Zimmerer, "Colonial Genocide: Ehe Herero and Nama War (1904-08) in German South West Africa and Its Significance," in Stone, ed., The Historiography of Genocide, p. 323. See also Andrew Meldrum, "German Minister Says Sorry for Genocide in Namibia," The Guardian, August 16, 2004, http://www.guardian.co.uk/print/0,3858,4993918-103532,00.html. An excellent BBC documentary on the genocide of the Hereros and Namas, Genocide and the Second Reich, can be viewed on YouTube beginning at /watchPvsJg4 MKIUi34w.



73 Zimmerer, "Colonial Genocide," p. 323.

74 In academia, the denialist position is associated with scholars such as Steven Katz, Guenter Lewy, William Rubinstein, and (in Australia) Keith Windschuttle.

75 Alexander Bielakowski, post to H-Genocide, September 26, 2001; see my response of the same date in the H-Genocide archives, http://h-net.msu.edu/cgi-bin/logbrowse.pl? trx= lmandlist=H-Genocide.

76 Michael Butleigh, Ethics and Extermination: Reflections on Nazi Genocide (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), p. 181.

77 Christopher Hitchens, "Minority Report," The Nation, Octobet 19, 1992, emphasis added. Hitchens's "vulgar social Darwinism, with its quasi-Hitlerian view of the proper role of power in history" is effectively pilloried in David E. Stannard's essay, "Uniqueness as Denial: The Politics of Genocide Scholarship," in Alan S. Rosenbaum, ed., h the Holocaust Unique? Perspectives on Comparative Genocide (2nd edn) (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2001), pp. 245-90 (on Hitchens, p. 248).

A personal confession: I identified with such viewpoints until a couple of decades ago, when I was slapped rudely awake by Geoffrey York's book The Dispossessed: Life and Death in Native Canada (London: Vintage UK, 1990). I now believe that this outlook tepresented a deep failure of moral imagination on my part. Probably, it was grounded in the same factors that seem to inform the comments of Hitchens and others: ignorance; cultural hubris; and discomfort at acknowledging genocide perpetrated by one's "own" people.

78 Wilson, The Earth Shall Weep, p. xx.

79 Benjamin Madley, personal conversation, August 16, 2005.

80 See Tzvetan Todorov, The Conquest of America: The Question of the Other (New York: Harper Perennial, 1992), pp. 135-38. Ben Kiernan argues that "Whether genocide accounted for more or fewer deaths than other causes is irrelevant. . . Nor should larger, unplanned tragedies like epidemics obscute lesser crimes, even if unconnected, that lead to the extinction of a population also ravaged by disease. In other words, it is possible neither to convict microbes of genocide nor to present their great destruction as a defense exhibit for perpetratots." Kiernan, Blood and Soil: A World History of Genocide and Extermination from Sparta to Darfur (New Haven, CT: Yale University Ptess, 2007), p. 35.

81 Tatz, With Lntent to Destroy, p. 99.

82 Patrick Wolfe, "Structure and Event: Settler Colonialism, Time, and the Question of Genocide," in Moses, ed., Empire, Colony, Genocide, p. 102.

83 Tony Barta, "Relations of Genocide: Land and Lives in the Colonization of Australia," in Isidor Wallimann and Michael N. Dobkowski, eds., Genocide and the Modern Age: Etiology and Case Studies of Mass Death (Westport, CT: Syracuse University Press, 2000), p. 240.

84 Levene, Genocide in the Age of the Nation State, Vol. 2, p. 44. He adds (p. 78) in the Australian context: "What had begun as a seemingly benign, implicitly anti-genocidal native policy thus became not just a failed policy but actually took on its reverse nightmare image; the very logic of non-negotiable, not to say accelerated, land seizure and conquest in the face of aboriginal resistance inevitably forcing Crown colonial good intentions into a cul-de-sac from which they could only be extricated through explosions of extreme, exterminatory violence."

85 Quoted in Ann Curthoys, "Genocide in Tasmania," in Moses, ed., Empire, Colony, Genocide, p. 233.

86 Another sophisticated analysis of the issues of agency and intent is A. Dirk Moses, "An Antipodean Genocide? The Origins of the Genocidal Moment in the Colonization of Australia," Journal of Genocide Research, 2:1 (2000), pp. 89-106.

87 For example - to cite a case where colonial administrators have often been credited with seeking to prevent or impede genocide against indigenous peoples — the Lieutenant Governor of Tasmania, Sir George Arthur, imposed martial law in the tetritory in 1828.



He called for "the most enetgetic measures on the part of the settlers themselves," though adding that "the use of arms is in no case to be resorted to until other measures for driving them off have failed." As Benjamin Madley notes, "Martial law made killing Aborigines legal until they had all been 'driven off,' resulting, within a year of the issuing of the decree, in the slaughter of over two-thitds of Tasmania's Aboriginal population." Madley, "Patterns of Frontier Genocide," p. 174.

88 Thornton, American Indian Holocaust and Survival, p. 69.

89 Coates, A Global History, p. 132.

90 Roger Williams, quoted in Wilson, The Earth Shall Weep, p. 55. Writes G.B. Nash: "The nature of pre-contact Indian war was far different than the wars known in Europe, both in duration and in scale of operations. Unlike the Europeans, Native Americans could not conceive of total wat that was fought for months or even years, that did not spare non-combatants, and that involved the systematic destruction of towns and food supplies. Wats among Indians were conducted more in the manner of short forays, with small numbers of warriors engaging the enemy and one or the other side with­drawing after a few casualties had been inflicted." Quoted in Jeffrey P. Blick, "Genocidal Warfare in Tribal Societies as a Result of European-induced Culture Conflict," Man, New Series, 23:4 (1988), p. 658. See also "Savage War," ch. 9 in Jennings, The Invasion of America, pp. 146-70, pointing (among othet things) to the extent to which Eutopeans themselves imported methods of warfare that were subsequently depicted as "savage" customs.

91 Daniel Chitot and Clark McCauley, Why Not Kill Them All? The Logic and Prevention of Mass Political Murder (Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univetsity Press, 2006), pp. 113-14.

92 Orlando Patterson, Slavery and Social Death: A Comparative Study (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1982), p. 191.

93 Jeffrey P. Blick, "The Iroquois Practice of Genocidal Warfare (1534-1787)," journal of Genocide Research, 3: 3 (2001), pp. 405-29.

94 See, e.g., Laura E. Matthew and Michel R. Oudijk, eds., Indian Conquistadors: Indigenous Allies in the Conquest ofMesoamerica (Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 2007).

95 Nicholas Robins, Native Insurgencies and the Genocidal Impulse in the Americas (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2005).

96 See Nelson Reed, The Caste War of Yucatan (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1964).

97 Coates, A Global History, pp. 226-27. See also the case of the Ache Indians of Paraguay, described in one of the early treatises of genocide studies: Richard Arens, Genocide in Paraguay (Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press, 1976), perhaps most cited today for the epilogue by Jewish Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel.

98 Levene, Genocide in the Age of the Nation State, Vol. 2, p. 99.

99 For example, Ward Churchill notes that US Indians in the contemporary era "incur by far the lowest annual and lifetime incomes of any group . . . and the highest rates of infant mortality, death by malnutrition, exposure, and plague disease. Such conditions produce the sort of endemic despair that generates chronic alcoholism and other forms of substance abuse among more than half the native population - factors contributing not only to further erosion in physical health but to very high accident rates — as well as rates of teen suicide up to 14.5 times the national average. . . . 'Genocidal' is the only reasonable manner in which to describe the imposition, as a matter of policy, of such physiocultural effects upon any target group." Churchill, A little Matter of Genocide, pp. 247-48. Conditions among Australian aboriginals are strikingly similar: this gtoup "ended the twentieth century at the very top, or bottom, of every social indicator available." See the statistics cited in Tatz, With Intent to Destroy, pp. 104-5. In Australia, "the standard of health of Aborigines lags almost 100 years behind that of other Australians, with some indigenous people still suffering from leprosy, rheumatic heart



disease and tuberculosis, according to a report for the World Health Organisation. The report said that Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders, which make up about 2.5% of Austtalia's population, have an average life expectancy 17 years below their fellow countrymen. The average age of death for Aboriginal men in some parts of New South Wales is 33." Barbara McMahon, "Aboriginal Health '100 Years Behind' Other Australians," The Guardian, May 1, 2007, http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2007/ may/01/australia. barbaramcmahon.

100 Niezen, The Origins of Indigenism, p. 40.

101 Quoted in ibid., p. 47.

102 Elazar Barkan, The Guilt of Nations: Restitution and Negotiating Historical Injustices (New York: W. W. Norton, 2000), p. 161.

103 For a survey of the trend, see Jack Hitt, "The Newest Indians," New York Times Magazine, August 21, 2005.

104 "Bolivia Fights Back: An Introduction," and Fotrest Hylton and Sinclair Thomson, "Insurgent Bolivia," both in NACLA Report on the Americas, November to Decembet 2004, pp. 14-15.

105 "United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples," adopted by General Assembly Resolution 61/295, September 13, 2007, /esa/socdev/ unpfii/en/drip.html.

106 Haider Rizvi, "UN Adopts Historic Statement on Native Rights," CommonDreams. org, September 14, 2007, /archive/2007/09/14/3831.

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Guatemala's Mayans are the inheritors of one of the world's great civilizations, which erected the temple complexes of Tikal, Copan, Palenque, and Chichen Itza (the last three lying just outside Guatemala's present-day boundaries, in Honduras and Mexico). The causes of the collapse of these civiliza­tions, and the reversion of their monuments to the jungle, remain something of an enigma. But what is known suggests that two hugely destructive institutions in the West - war and environmental despoliation - were far from unknown to indigenous civilizations in the Americas. While (and in part because) growing populations placed great strain on available land and resources, patterns of Mayan warfare seem to have grown increasingly uncompromising -

Map 3A.1 Guatemala. The mountainous sierra zone is the heartland of Mayan culture and settlement, and was devastated in the genocide of 1981-83.

Source: Map provided by .



perhaps exterminatory and genocidal, as for the Aztecs of the valley of Mexico several centuries later (see pp. 127—28).

After the collapse of classical Mayan culture, descendent populations gravitated toward the Guatemalan sierra and other mountainous regions, such as Chiapas in southet n Mexico.1 The Mayan region experienced one of the most savage of all sixteenth-century conquistador campaigns, when Pedro de Alvarado arrived to lay the territories waste and claim them for the Spanish crown. In his Brief Account of the Destruction of the Indies, the Spanish friar and Indian advocate, Bartolome de las Casas, wrote of Alvarado's rampage through Guatemala that his forces

plundered and ravaged an area of more than a hundred leagues by a hundred leagues that was among the most fertile and most heavily peopled on earth, killing all the leaders among the native population and, with all men of military age dead, reducing the sutvivors to the Hell of slavery. ... As this very butcher himself was quite accurately to tecord in writing, there were more people in this region than in the whole of the kingdom of Mexico. Yet, in this same atea, he and his brothers, together with their comrades-in-arms, were responsible for the deaths of more than four or five million souls over the fifteen or sixteen years, from 1524 to 1540. Nor is the butchery and destruction over, for those natives who have survived so far will soon perish in the same ways as have all the others in the region.2

Mark Levene aptly notes that what these conquistadors "did in mass murder was quite equal to the accomplishment of Einsatzgruppen [killing] units operating in the Russian borderlands of 1941-2" (see the discussion of the "Holocaust by Bullets" on pp. 239-40 and pp. 514-16).3 Unlike the Arawaks of Hispaniola or the Beothuks of Newfoundland,4 the Mayans wete not hounded to complete extinction. But along with the other Indians of Mesoamerica, they experienced the most calamitous demogtaphic collapse in recorded history. Las Casas's casualty estimate is far from untenable, given the densely-woven populations that inhabited much of the isthmus at the time of the conquest. And his prediction that the "same ways" of extermination and enslavement would be employed against Mayan populations in the future was prescient.

One important legacy of Spanish colonialism in Mesoamerica was the advent of a ladino (Hispanic) culture which, since ladino was a cultural rather than racial identification, gradually eroded and supplanted the native culture. Another crucial legacy, which afflicts neighboring El Salvador as well, was the glaringly unequal division of land and wealth resulting from the parceling up of conquered territories into vast latifundias (plantations), worked by armies of dragooned Indians. Mayan populations were squeezed to the point of bare subsistence and beyond, occupying tiny plots in inaccessible areas, so they would be forced to enter the cash economy in planting and harvest seasons, toiling in abominable conditions. During the great coffee boom of the nineteenth century,



highland Indians were both pressed into forced labor and coerced into debt peonage - with the debts often passed down for generations.5 In the twentieth century, they were transported in cattle trucks to the lowland fincas (plantations) that grew crops, especially cotton, for export. It was in such conditions that the global symbol of the Guatemalan Mayans, Rigoberta Menchu, labored alongside her family as a child, and lost two of her brothers to the fincas — one to malnutrition, the other to pesticide poisoning. Menchu would go on to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992, the quincentenary of Columbus's invasion of the Americas.6

In 1944, Guatemala was tuled by Jorge Ubico, the latest in a long line of dictators. But an impetus for change was building, inspired both by the decolonization movements of the era and by US president Ftanklin Roosevelt's proclamation of "Four Freedoms" to guide the postwat era (freedom of speech and religion; freedom from want and fear). That same yeat, 1944, the first democratic wave crested with the deposing of Ubico and the election of a reformist government under Juan Jose Arevalo. He was succeeded in 1950 by an even more energetic reformer, Jacobo Arbenz, who introduced measures aimed at dissolving Guatemala's institutions of privilege and inequality, and sparking a capitalist modernization of the country. Fatefully, among Arbenz's decrees was the nationalization of the United Fruit Company - which enjoyed intimate access to the upper level of the Eisenhower administration in the US. The company was compensated, but based on the declared tax-value of its

Figure 3A. 1 The awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992 ro Rigoberta Menchu, a Quiche Indian from the highlands of Guatemala, symbolized the increased recognition of indigenous people's experiences worldwide. Menchu lost several family members ro the srate-sponsored genocide rhat swept Guatemala in the late 1970s and early 1980s; her autobiography, I, Rigoberta Menchu (see Further Study) is a classic of modern Latin American literarure and indigenous advocacy. Menchu is shown at a speaking appearance at the Univetsity of Utah, Salt Lake City, in January 2009.

Source: Edgar Zuniga, Jr./Flickr.



immense and unproductive holdings. This was of course the lowest possible amount. Confronted by such a flagrant refusal of a formerly client regime to play its assigned role in US hemispheric designs, the Eisenhower administration declared Arbenz a dangerous communist - pointing to the "evidence" of four communist representatives out of 51 in Congress, along with a handful of sub-cabinet appointees.

The years 1944-54 are known as the "Ten Years of Spring" in Guatemala. They matked the only time in the country's post-colonial history where genuine attention was paid to the needs of the vast majority of the population. But they were about to be foreclosed, and followed by a genocidal winter.

On June 18, 1954, a force scarcely 150 strong — led by Castillo Armas, a military officer on the CIA payroll - "invaded" Guatemala from Honduras. There they paused, while the CIA organized a campaign of propaganda aimed at spreading terror of an impending foreign assault. The plan worked. Arbenz's nerve broke, and he was carted off to exile in his underclothes.7 Armas and his military cronies took over and, with extensive US assistance, launched a counterinsurgency campaign against Arbenz's supporters and other oppo­sition. Eventually, young officers rebelled against the dictatorial new order, forming the nucleus of a guerrilla group that fled the cities for the guerrilla redoubt of the highlands. The army's extermination campaign against them, this time conducted in close coordination with the US military, killed thousands of mostly Mayan civilians, at the same time as it routed the guerrilla insurgency.

Yet nothing had changed politically. By the end of the 1970s, populations were boiling over in Guatemala, as in nearby El Salvador and Nicaragua.8 Trade-union mobilization swept the cities, while in the Mayan sierra, a ladino-led but mostly Indian force, the Guetrilla Army of the Poor (EGP), launched a fresh insurrection. The response of the Guatemalan army and security forces between 1978 and 1983 - with critical political, economic, and military support from the United States and Israel9 — was probably the worst holocaust unleashed in the Americas in the twentieth century.

"Though their official targets were left-wing guerrillas," writes Patrick Brantlinger, "the army and the death squads tortured, raped, and killed indis­criminately, massacring entire Mayan villages in a patently genocidal campaign . . ."10 In just six years, peaking under the regime of General Efrafn Rfos Montt in 1982-83, some 440 Indian villages were obliterated. The author, visiting the ravaged highlands of Quiche province in 1987, found the scorched foundations of peasant dwellings still scattered across the landscape, and most of the remaining Mayan population locked up in "settlements" that seemed little more than concentration camps. Russell Schimmer's research for Yale University's Genocide Studies Program, which uses remote sensing technologies to detect changes to vegetation and land use caused by genocidal outbreaks, found signs of extensive destruction and despoliation in Quiche's "Ixil Triangle," where the most merciless scorched-earth measures were imposed. ("We have no scorched­



earth policy," Rfos Montt notoriously declared after a meeting with President Reagan in Honduras. "We have a policy of scorched communists.")11

At least 200,000 and as many as 250,000 people, mostly Mayan, were massacred, often after torture. The barbarism was fully comparable to the early phase of Spanish colonization under Pedro de Alvarado half a millennium earlier. It involved acts of "extreme cruelty . . . such as the killing of defenseless children, often by beating them against walls or throwing them alive into pits where the corpses of adults were later thrown; the amputation of limbs; the impaling of victims; the killings of persons by covering them in petrol and burning them alive," all part of "military operations directed towards the physical annihilation" of opposition forces.

Such was the verdict of the Historical Clarification Commission (CEH), established after the United Nations brokered a peace agreement between the Guatemalan government and guerrilla forces in 1996.12 The Commission's final report on the atrocities of the 1970s and '80s, released in February 1999, ascribed responsibility for fully 93 percent of them to the government and its paramilitary allies. Most of the atrocities, it found, "occurred with the knowledge or by the order of the highest authorities of the State." Finally, and crucially, the Commission declared, on the basis of its survey of four regions of the Mayan zone, that

the acts committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, numerous groups of Mayans were not isolated acts or excesses committed by soldiers who were out of control, nor were they the result of possible improvisation by mid-level Army command. With great consternation, the CEH concludes that many massacres and other human rights violations committed against these groups obeyed a higher, strategically planned policy, manifested in actions which had a logical and coherent sequence. ... In consequence, the CEH concludes that agents of the State of Guatemala, within the framework of counterinsurgency operations carried out between 1981 and 1983, committed acts of genocide against groups of Mayan people which lived in the four regions analysed. This conclusion is based on the evidence that, in light of Article II of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, the killing of members of Mayan groups occurred (Article IEa), serious bodily or mental harm was inflicted (Article II.b) and the group was deliberately subjected to living conditions calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part (Article II.c). The con­clusion is also based on the evidence that all these acts were committed "with intent to destroy, in whole or in part," groups identified by their common ethnicity, by reason thereof, whatever the cause, motive of final objective of these acts may have been (Article II, first paragraph).13

Since the ceasefire, the return of the tens of thousands of refugees who had fled to southern Mexico and elsewhere,14 and the release of the Clarification Commission's report, measures have been instituted to bolster Mayan rights.15



In 1996, for example, 21 Mayan tongues were formally recognized by the state as official languages. Education in these languages is more widely available than previously. Exhumations and reburials, of the kind depicted in Victoria Sanford's book Buried Secrets,16have brought a measure of closure to thousands of indige­nous families. And in Decembet 2009, Col. Marco Antonio Sanchez was found guilty of the forcible disappearance of eight people during the war and genocide, and sentenced to 53 years in prison. It was the first such conviction ever rendered by a Guatemalan court, and human rights organizers expressed their hope that the trial would serve as a "test case" for future prosecutions.17

As for the profound disparities of wealth and land ownership that spawned rebellion in the first place, they seem only to have deepened, and are now some of the worst in the world.18 According to Inter-American Development Bank statistics, cited by NotiCen Report in 2007, "Guatemala has surpassed Brazil as the most unequal country in Latin America. . . . Most of these impov­erished people are indigenous and campesinos [peasants]. . . . Two-thirds of Guatemala's children, 2,700,000 of them, live in poverty, a poverty that will follow them all their lives in the form of decreased life expectancy and health outlook."19

Also generating deep concern is the skyrocketing male violence - principally against other males, but increasingly against women20 - that prevails in "post­war" Guatemala. In this respect, the traumatized land stands as emblematic of many post-genocide societies21 — awash with arms, drugs, and gangs; with military and security forces still rampaging as off-duty death squads, though now against "socially deviant" elements (street children, drug dealers and gang members, homosexuals and transvestites); pervaded by extreme machismo that fuels an epidemic of rape-murders of young women. And in Guatemala's Congress, reelected in September 2007, sits Efrai'n Rios Montt - the former genocidal general and putative president of Guatemala during the worst of the genocide, taking full advantage of his congressional immunity. His hardline Guatemalan Republican Front (FRG) has been a prominent player in post-genocide politics. This, too, is not untypical of highly traumatized societies. One of their regular aspects, reflecting often spiralling levels of crime and social violence, is the appeal of "law and order" candidates. Frequently, like Rios Montt and his ilk, they were once representatives of organs and institutions that pursued genocidal policies against political dissenters and indigenous populations.


Greg Grandin, The Last Colonial Massacre: Latin America in the Cold War. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2004. A reflective historical study not only of modern Guatemala, but of the period of state terror around the hemisphere.



Guatemala: Memory of Silence: Report of the Commission for Historical Clarification, February 1999. Available online at / guatemala/ceh/report/ english/toc.html.

Jim Handy, Gift of the Devil: A History of Guatemala. Toronto, ON: Between the Lines, 1984. Now dated, but a very readable introduction to Guatemala from the Spanish conquest to the onset of the genocide.

Etelle Higonnet, ed.. Quiet Genocide: Guatemala 1981—1983, trans. Marcie Mersky. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 2009. Analyzes modern Guatemala through a lens of genocide and crimes against humanity.

Michael McClintock, The American Connection, Vol. 2: State Terror and Popular Resistance in Guatemala. London: Zed Books, 1985. Detailed expose of the Guatemalan terror-state, including "The Question of Genocide"; see also volume 1, State Terror and Popular Resistance in El Salvador.

Rigoberta Menchu with Elisabeth Butgos-Debray, /, Rigoberta Menchu: An Indian Woman in Guatemala. New York: Verso, 1987. Memoir, by the Nobel Peace Prize-winner, of her family's experience in the genocide against Mayan Indians.

Daniel Wilkinson, Silence on the Mountain: Stories of Terror, Betrayal and Forgetting in Guatemala. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2002. Explores the historical roots and human consequences of the Guatemalan genocide.

Ronald Wright, Time Among theMaya: Travels in Belize, Guatemala, and Mexico. New York: Viking, 1989. A politically astute travelogue through the Mayan heartland.


1 It was in Chiapas, as noted, that the Spanish friar Bartolome de las Casas centered his efforts to preserve the Indian population; the city of San Cristobal de las Casas bears his name. It was also in Chiapas that modem oppression and marginaliza-tion of Mexico's Mayan Indian population erupted in the Zapatista uprising of January 1, 1994 - the same date that the North American Free Trade Agreement was scheduled to come into effect, which many Indian communities saw as a mortal thteat to their subsistence-agricultural economy.

2 Bartolome de las Casas, A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies, trans. Nigel Griffin (London: Penguin, 1991), pp. 61-62.

3 Mark Levene, Genocide in the Age of the Elation State, Vol. 2: The Rise of the West and the Coming of Genocide (London: LB. Tauris, 2005), p. 12.

4 On the extermination of the Indians of Hispaniola, see las Casas, A Short Account, pp. 18-25; David Stannard, American Holocaust: The Conquest of the New World (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992), pp. 62-75. On the Beothuks, see Frederick W. Rowe, Extinction: The Beothuks of Newfoundland (Toronto, ON: McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 1977); Arthur Grenke, God, Greed, and Genocide: The Holocaust through the Centuries (New Academic Publishing, 2005), pp. 170-73.



5 See Jim Handy, Gift of the Devil: A History of Guatemala (Toronto, ON: Between the Lines, 1984); Julio C. Cambranes, Coffee and Peasants in Guatemala (South Woodstock, VT: CIRMA/Plumsock Mesoamerican Studies, 1985); Adam Jones, Guatemala Insurgent: Roots of Rebellion from the Rise of the Coffee Economy to the Present Day (unpublished manusctipt, Univetsity of British Columbia, 1989; available from the author).

6 Rigoberta Menchu with Elisabeth Burgos-Debiay, /, Rigoberta Menchu: An Indian Woman in Guatemala (New York: Verso, 1987), chs. 4, 7. Menchii's autobiography is a classic of indigenous literature, though controversy has attended some of the personal history that Menchu recounts - a notable case of the struggle over history and memory examined in Chapter 14. For an overview, see Arturo Arias, ed., The Rigoberta Menchu Controversy (Bloomington, MN: Minnesota University Ptess, 2001).

7 The coup, and its prelude and aftermath, have been well studied as a paradigmatic case of US intervention. The fullest account is Stephen C. Schlesinger and Stephen Kinzet, Bitter Fruit: The Story of the American Coup in Guatemala, expanded edn (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999). See also Richard H. Immerman, The CIA in Guatemala: The Foreign Policy of Intervention (Austin, TX: University of Texas Ptess, 1982), and, on the aftetmath, Stephen M. Streeter, Managing the Counterrevolution: The United States and Guatemala, 1954—1961 (Athens, OH: Ohio Univetsity Press, 2000).

8 Nicaragua would experience a seizure of power by leftist revolutionaries, the Sandinistas, in 1979, prompting another Reagan administration-sponsored terrorist campaign, spearheaded by the so-called Contras (counter-revolutionaties). An estimated 20,000-30,000 Nicataguan civilians were killed before the wat wound down later in the 1980s, and the Sandinistas were voted out of power in 1990. As for El Salvador in the late 1970s and 1980s, it has not yet been studied as a case of genocide, and should be, if political groups (real or imagined) are included in the framing. See Americas Watch, El Salvador's Decade of Terror: Human Rights since the Assassination of Archbishop Romero (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1991), and New York Times correspondent Raymond Bonner's devastating expose, Weakness and Deceit: US Policy and El Salvador (New York: Times Books, 1984). The emblematic genocidal massacre of the war, inflicted by the US-trained Atlacatl battalion at the village of El Mozote in December 1981 — and followed by a US-engineered cover-up - is memorably described by Mark Danner in The Massacre at El Mozote: A Parable of the Cold War (New York: Vintage, 1994).

9 On the US role during the peak years of the genocide, see Michael McClintock, The American Connection, Vol. 2: State Terror and Popular Resistance in Guatemala (London: Zed Books, 1985). Of President Ronald Reagan, who directly sponsored the "anti-communist" campaigns of tetrorism and extermination in Central America, Robert Parry wrote that he "found virtually every anti-communist action justified, no matter how brutal. From his eight years in the White House, there is no historical indication that he was troubled by the bloodbath and even genocide that occurred in Central America during his presidency, while he was shipping hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid to the implicated forces." Parry, "Reagan and Guatemala's Death Files," in William L. Hewitt, ed., Defining the Horrific: Readings on Genocide and Holocaust in the Twentieth Century (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, 2004), p. 247; available online at http://www.consoitiumnews. com/1999/052699al.html. On the basis of the US orchestration of genocide in El Salvador and Nicaragua (c. 100,000 killed), and also considering the "fundamental political suppott" (McClintock, p. 199) that his government extended to Guatemala



and other atrocious regimes throughout Latin America, there are grounds to regard Reagan as the single worst purveyor of mass atrocity in the western hemisphere during the twentieth century. Very little of this surfaced in the nauseating encomiums to Reagan in the US media following his death in 2004.

An indirect aspect of US suppott to Guatemala and El Salvadot, under both Reagan and his ptedecessot Jimmy Carter, was the drafting of key clients - Israel and South Kotea - to fill gaps in military and "security" assistance, especially when the US Congress restricted direct aid. Of Israel's involvement in arming and training the genocidal forces in Guatemala, serving both the Cartet and Reagan administrations in this proxy role, the Israeli scholar Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi wrote: "What is unique [in the Central American mass murders of the twentieth century] is the extent to which those who carried out the deliberate policies of endless killings have proclaimed their indebtedness to Israel, as the source not only of theit hardware, but of theii inspiration." Accotding to The Washington Post, not only did Israel train Guatemalan genocidaires, but "Israeli advisers — some official, others private - helped Guatemalan internal security agents hunt underground rebel groups." Beit-Hallahmi, The Israeli Connection: Who Israel Arms and Why (New Yotk: Pantheon Books, 1987), pp. 79, 81. See also McClintock, The American Connection, Vol. 2, pp. 192-96. Israel was likewise instrumental in arming the military and security forces who perpetrated genocide, by this book's anchoring definition (p. 24), in next-door El Salvador in the 1970s and eatly 1980s. "During the 1970s, 80 percent of arms imports to El Salvador came from Israel, but after the United States resumed sales in 1980, Israel became only its second largest supplier" (Beit-Hallahmi, p. 85).

10 Pattick Brantlinger, reviewing recent books on Guatemala in Journal of Genocide Research, 11: 4 (2009), p. 531. Two important chapter-length treatments of the genocide are Victoria Sanford, ";Si Hubo Genocidio en Guatemala! Yes! There Was Genocide in Guatemala," in Dan Stone, ed., The Historiography of Genocide (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008), pp. 543-76; and Marc Drouin, "Understanding the 1982 Guatemalan Genocide," in Marcia Esparza, Henry R. Huttenbach, and Daniel Feierstein, eds, State Violence and Genocide in Latin America (London: Routledge, 2010), pp. 81-104.

11 Rios Montt quoted in Daniel Wilkinson, Silence on the Mountain: Stories of Terror, Betrayal, and Forgetting in Guatemala (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2004), p. 327. Rios Montt's ptess sectetary, Francisco Bianchi, also notoriously stated: "The Indians were subversives, right? And how do you fight subvetsion? Clearly you had to kill the Indians because they were collaborating with subversion. And then they would say, 'You're massacring innocent people.' But they weten't inno­cent. They had sold out to subversion." Quoted in McClintock, The American Connection, Vol. 2, p. 258.

12 For an overview of the Historical Clarification Commission's work, and the truth and reconciliation process in Guatemala more generally, see Anita Isaacs, "Truth and the Challenge of Reconciliation in Guatemala," in Joanna R. Quinn, ed., Reconciliation^): Transitional fustice in Postconflict Societies (Montreal, QC: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2009), pp. 116-46. Genocide was also the verdict of an important human rights report on Guatemala issued while the slaugh­ter was still underway: Craig W. Nelson and Kenneth I. Taylor, Witness to Genocide: The Present Situation of Indians in Guatemala (London: Survival International, 1983).

13 All quotes from Guatemala: Memory of Silence: Report of the Commission for Historical Clarification, February 1999. Available online at / guatemala/ceh/report/english/toc.html.



14 On the plight of the refugees, see Beatriz Manz, Refugees of a Hidden War: The Aftermath of Counterinsurgency in Guatemala (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1988).

15 For an overview of decades of Mayan activism on this front, see Edward F. Fischer and R. McKenna Brown, Maya Cultural Activism in Guatemala (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 1996).

16 Victoria Sanford, Buried Secrets: Truth and Human Rights in Guatemala (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003).

17 Stephen Gibbs, "Guatemala Colonel Given 53 Years for Civil War Crime," BBC Online, December 5, 2009, http://news.bbc.co.Uk/2/hi/americas/8396691.stm.

18 In 2005, the United Nations Human Development Report ranked Guatemala seventh worst in the world for income inequality, just behind Brazil. These seem to be the most recent figures available: see the Human Development Report 2009's summary of Guatemala at /en/countries/country_fact_ sheets/cty_fs_GTM.html.

19 "Hardly a Dent in Guatemalan Poverty, as Wealth Distribution Becomes World's Worst," NotiCen: Central American & Caribbean Affairs, October 4, 2007, /coms2/gi_0199-7031276/HARDLY-A-DENT-IN-GUATEMALAN.html. See also "Malnutrition in Guatemala: A National Shame," The Economist, August 27, 2009, noting that "in parts of rural Guatemala, where the population is overwhelmingly of Mayan descent, the incidence of child malnutrition reaches 80%."

20 On the feminicidio (femicide/feminicide) in Guatemala, see Victoria Sanford, Guatemala: Del Genocidio alFeminicidio (Guatemala City: F&G Editores, 2008); the stark documentary, Guatemala: Killer's Paradise (National Film Board of Canada, 2006), available on YouTube; and Sanford's essay on this film, "Images of Impunity," in Adam Jones, ed., Evoking Genocide: Scholars and Activists Describe the Works That Shaped Their Lives (Totonto, ON: The Key Publishing House Inc., 2009), pp. 210-14. See also the broader discussion of gender and genocide in Chaptet 13.

21 See Alessandro Preti, "Guatemala: Violence in Peacetime - A Critical Analysis of the Armed Conflict and the Peace Process," Disasters, 26: 2 (2002), pp. 99-119.


The Ottoman Destruction of Christian Minorities

They hate the Christians.

Charlotte Kechejian, survivor of the Armenian genocide


The murder of over a million Armenians in Turkey between 1915 and 1923 presaged Adolf Hitler's even more gargantuan assault on European Jews in the 1940s. However, for decades, the events were almost forgotten. War crimes trials - the first in history - were held after the Allied occupation of Turkey, but were abandoned in the face of Turkish opposition. In August 1939, as he prepared to invade western Poland, Hitler mused to his generals that Mongol leader "Genghis Khan had millions of women and men killed by his own will and with a gay heart. History sees in him only a great state builder." And in noting his instructions to the Death's Head killing units "to kill without mercy men, women and children of Polish race or language," Hitler uttered some of the most resonant words in the history of genocide: " Who, after all, talks nowadays of the annihilation of"the Armenians?"'

Fortunately, Hitler's rhetorical question cannot sensibly be asked today - except in Turkey. Over the past four decades, a growing movement for apology and resti­tution has established the Armenian catastrophe as one of the three canonical genocides of the twentieth century, alongside the Holocaust and Rwanda. However, a variant of Hitler's question could still obtain: who, today, talks of the genocides of



the other Christian minorities of the Ottoman realm, notably the Assytians (including Chaldeans, Nestorians, and Syrian/Syriac Christians)2 and the Anatolian and Pontian Greeks?*

Historian Hannibal Travis, who has done more than any othet scholar to bring the Assyrian catastrophe into mainstream genocide studies, notes that at the time of the anti-Christian genocides, "newspapers in London, Paris, New York, and Los Angeles regularly reported on the massacres of Assyrians living under Ottoman occupation." According to Travis, the attention the Assyrians received was such, and so intertwined with the Armenian atrocities, that when Raphael Lemkin pondered early versions of what would become his "genocide" framework, he had two main instances in mind: the Armenian holocaust, and a renewed round of anti-Assyrian persecutions, this time in post-Ottoman Iraq in 1933.3

As for the Anatolian, Thracean, and Pontian Greeks, they had been vulnerable ever since their linguistic brethren in the Greek mainland had become the first to successfully fling off Ottoman dominion - with numerous atrocities committed on both sides. This marked the beginning of the "Great Unweaving" that dismantled the Ottoman empire, and sent tetrorized and humiliated Muslim refugees fleeing toward the Constantinople and the Anatolian heartland. By the beginning of the First World War, a majority of the region's ethnic Greeks still lived in present-day Turkey, mostly in Thrace (the only remaining Ottoman territory in Europe, abutting the Greek border), and along the Aegean and Black Sea coasts. They would be targeted both prior to and alongside the Armenians of Anatolia and the Assyrians of Anatolia and Mesopotamia.

For these reasons, while the events of the 1914-22 petiod have long been depicted in terms of the Armenian genocide and its aftetmath, one is justified in portraying it instead as a unified campaign against all the empire's Christian minorities. This does greater justice to minority populations that have generally been marginalized in the narrative. The approach mirrors the discourse and strategizing of the time. Sultan Abdul Hamid II lamented "the endless persecutions and hostilities of the Christian world" as a whole.4 Historian Donald Bloxham refers to "a general anti-Christian chauvinism" in which Christians "were cast as collective targets."3 The German ambassador to the Ottoman empire, Baron Hans Freiherr von Wangenheim, described the regime's "internal enemies" as "local Christians."6

A "Christian genocide" framing acknowledges the historic claims of the Assyrian and Greek peoples, and the movements now stirring for recognition and restitution among Greek and Assyrian diasporas. It also bangs to light the quite staggering cumulative death toll among the various Christian groups targeted. In Thea Halo's estimation, "Armenian deaths were estimated at 1.5 million. According to figures compiled by the Greek government in collaboration with the Patriarchate, of the 1.5 million Greeks of Asia Minor - Ionians, Pontians, and Cappadocians —

* Anatolia is the "Asian" region of Tuikey, extending east from the Bosphorus Strait, which bisects the city of Istanbul. The major populations of "Anatolian Greeks" include those along rhe Aegean coast and in Cappadocia (central Anatolia), but not the Greeks of rhe Thrace region west of the Bosphorus. In a geographical sense, Anatolia technically includes the Pontus region along the Black Sea coast, but the Pontian Greeks are culturally and historically such a distinct community that I designate them sepatately.



Figure 4.1 The genocide of the Christian populations of presenr-day Turkey produced "the first internarional human rights movement in American history," according to poet and genocide scholar Peter Balakian. The campaign spearheaded by rhe American Committee for Relief in the Near East, symbolized by this contemporary postet, raised an astounding $ 116 million between 1915 and 1930 - equivalent to over a billion dollars today. Nearly two million tefugees benefited from the assistance.

Sourer. Wikimedia Commons.

approximately 750,000 were massacred and 750,000 exiled. Pontian deaths alone totaled 353,000."7 As for the Assyrian victims, the Assyrian delegation to the Paris Peace Conference cited a figure of 250,000 killed, a figure which has been accepted by Hannibal Travis and David Gaunt, arguably the two leading scholars of the Assyrian genocide.8

A broader framing also encourages attention to vulnerable Christian populations in the region today — most notably in Iraq, home to the descendants of the Assyrian populations targeted in earlier rounds of persecution and genocide. I return to the movements for recognition at the end of this chapter, and address the present-day vulnerabilities of Christian minorities in Box 4a, "Iraq: Liberation and Genocide."9


Three factors combined to produce the genocide of Christian minorities: (1) the decline of the Ottoman Empire, which provoked desperation and humiliation among Turkey's would-be revolutionary modernizers, and eventually violent reaction;10 (2) Christians' vulnerable position in the Ottoman realm; and (3) the First World War, which confronted Turkey with attack from the west (at Gallipoli) and invasion by the Russians in the northeast. Significant as well was the Turkish variant of racial hygiene theory, echoing many motifs familiar from the subsequent Nazi period in Europe. According to Vahakn Dadrian, "measures for the better 'health' of the national body, [and for] 'eugenic improvements' of the race" were actively pro­moted.11 Young Turk racial theory, according to Ben Kiernan, connected the Turks



with the heroic Mongols, and contrasted them with inferior and untrustworthy Greeks, Armenians, and Jews.12

In Chapter 10, I argue that humiliation is one of the greatest psychological spurs to violence, including mass violence and genocide. Theories of Turkish racial superiority certainly provided a salve for the psychic wounds inflicted by the almost unbroken string of humiliations that constituted Ottoman history in its final decades. Indeed, the empire had been in decline ever since its armies were repulsed from the gates of Western Europe, at Vienna in 1688. "As well as the loss of Greece and effec­tively Egypt, in the first twenty-nine years of the nineteenth century alone the empire had lost control of Bessarabia, Serbia, Abaza, and Mingrelia." In 1878, the empire "cede[d] ownership of or genuine sovereignty over . . . Bosnia, Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Kars, Ardahan, and Cyprus," with "the losses of that year alone comprising one-third of Ottoman territory and 20 per cent of the empire's inhabitants."13

The human toll of this "Great Unweaving," from Greece's independence war in the early nineteenth century to the final Balkan wars of 1912-13, was enormous. Hundreds of thousands of Ottoman Muslims were massacred in the secessionist drive: Bloxham argued that "in the years up to the First World War, Muslims were the primary victims of violence in the region by state and sub-state Christian actors working in the name of nationalist liberation and self-determination for their ethno-religious group."14 Hundreds of thousands more were expelled as refugees from the former imperial periphery to the heartland, where most festered in poverty, and many yearned for revenge. According to Taner Akcam, "it was precisely those people who, having only recently been saved from massacre themselves, would now take a central and direct role in cleansing Anatolia of'non-Turkish elements."15

The situation within the shrinking empire was ripe for nativist backlash, and when it occurred, Ottoman Armenians were the targets. They are an ancient people who, by the late nineteenth century, constituted the largest non-Muslim population in eastern Anatolia.16 In the 1870s and 1880s, Armenian nationalist societies began to form — part of a broader "Armenian Renaissance' {Zartonk) that gained momentum from the middle of the nineteenth century on."17 Like the small number of Armenian political parties that mobilized later, they demanded full equality within the empire, and occasionally appealed to outside powets fot protection and support. These actions aroused the hostility of Muslim nationalists, and eventually prompted a violent backlash. Suspicions were heightened by the advent, in the 1870s and 1880s, of a small numbet of Armenian revolutionary societies that would later carry out robberies and acts of terrorism against the Ottoman state.

With the Ottomans' hold over their empire faltering, foreign intervention increasing, and Armenian nationalists insurgent, vengeful massacres swept across Armenian-populated territories. Between 1894 and 1896, "the map of Armenia in Turkey went up in flames. From Constantinople to Trebizond to Van to Diyarbekir, and across the whole central and eastetn plain of Anatolia, where historic Armenia was lodged, the killing and plunder unfolded."18 Vahakn Dadrian, the leading historian of the Armenian genocide, considered the 1894-96 massacres "a test case for the political feasibility, if not acceptability by the rest of the world, of the enactment by central authorities of the organized mass murder of a discordant nationality."19 The killings were, however, more selective than in the 1915—17 con­



flagration, and central state direction more difficult to discern. According to Bloxham, the main role was played by "Muslim religious leaders, students, and brotherhoods," though many ordinary Muslims, especially Kurds, also participated.20 Between 80,000 and 200,000 Armenians were killed.21

In the first few yeats of the twentieth century, outright collapse loomed for the Ottoman empire. In 1908, Bulgaria declared full independence, Crete's parliament proclaimed a union with Greece, and the Austto-Hungarian empire annexed Bosnia and Herzegovina. Italy seized Libya in 1912. The following year, Albania and Macedonia seceded. Summarizing these disasters, Robert Melson noted that "out of a total area of approximately 1,153,000 square miles and from a population of about 24 million, by 1911 the Turks had lost about 424,000 square miles and 5 million people";22 and by 1913, only a narrow strip of European territory remained in their grasp.

In 1908, the tottering Ottoman sultanate was overthrown in the Young Turk revolution, led by a group of modernization-minded military officers. Christian minorities joined with other Ottoman peoples in welcoming the transformations. In the first blush of post-revolutionary enthusiasm, "a wave of fraternal effusions between Ottoman Christians and Muslims swept the empire."23 It seemed there was a place for all, now that despotism had been overturned. Indeed, Christians (together with Jews and other religious minorities) were now granted full constitu­tional rights.

Unfortunately, as with many revolutionary movements, the new Ottoman rulers (grouped under the Committee of Union and Progress, CUP) were split into liberal-democratic and authoritarian factions. The latter was guided by a "burgeoning ethnic nationalism (still infotmed by Islam) blended with a late-imperial paranoid chau­vinism";24 its leading ideologist was Ziya Gokalp, whose "pan-Turkism was bound up in grandiose romantic nationalism and a 'mystical vision of blood and race.'"25 "Turks," declared Gokalp, "are the 'supermen' imagined by the German philosopher Nietzsche . . . New life will be born from Turkishness."26 Within the CUP, amidst "economic and structural collapse, the vision of a renewed empire was born — an empire that would unite all Turkic peoples and stretch from Constantinople to central Asia. This vision, however, excluded non-Muslim minorities."27

In January 1913, in the wake of the shattering Balkan defeats of the previous year, the extremist CUP launched a coup against the moderates and took power. The new ruling triumvirate - Minister of Internal Affairs Talat Pasha; Minister of War Enver Pasha; and Minister of the Navy Jemal Pasha - quickly established a de facto dicta­torship. Under the so-called Special Organization of the CUP that they directed, this trio would plan and oversee the genocides of the Christian minorities, with the Special Organization's affiliates in the Anatolia region serving as ground-level organizers.28


The Ottoman genocide of Christians has long been depicted as starting in April 1915, when with Allied invaders on the dootstep in the Dardanelles, the Ottoman authorities rounded up Armenian notables, and the CUP's "final solution" to the



Armenian "problem" was implemented. If we speak of systematic, generalized destruction of a Christian population, either through direct murder or through prottacted death marches, this may be true. Armenians, moreover, had been targeted for a premonitory wave of killings in 1909.29 But the multipronged holocaust that swept the Ottoman realm during World War One was most directly presaged by violence not against Armenians, but against Gteeks. It erupted in mid-1914, even before the outbreak of the war, with "group persecution" directed by the CUP against the "Ottoman Greeks living along the Aegean littoral," in Matthias Bjernlund's account.30 Historian Arnold Toynbee described a campaign of "general" attacks in which

entire Greek communities were driven from their homes by terrorism, their houses and land and often theif moveable property were seized, and individuals were killed in the process. . . . The terror attacked one district aftet another, and was carried on by "chette" bands, enrolled from the Rumeli refugees [i.e., Muslim populations "cleansed" from the Balkans by Christian terror] as well as from the local population and nominally attached as teinforcements to the regular Ottoman gendarmerie.31

This was almost precisely the pattern that would be followed in the 1915 exter­mination campaign against all Christian minorities, only with a starker emphasis on direct killing.32 US ambassador Henry Morgenthau cited testimony from his Turkish informants that they "had expelled the Greeks so successfully that they had decided to apply the same method towatd all the other races in the empite."33 Again the looting and destruction would be voracious; again the "Rumeli tefugees," the most humiliated and dispossessed of the population, would be encouraged to avenge themselves on Christians; again the cbetes would be mobilized for genocidal service under gendarmerie control.

When those "other races" were targeted in the full-scale genocide of 1915, the Aegean Gteeks would again be among those exposed to the same process of con­centration, deportation, and systematic slaughter as the Armenians and Assyrians. Of this second and more far-reaching wave of anti-Christian policies, Morgenthau wrote that the Ottoman authorities

began by incotporating the Greeks into the Ottoman army and then transforming them into labor battalions using them to build toads in the Caucasus and other scenes of action. These Greek soldiers, just like the Armenians, died by thousands from cold, hunger, and other privations . . . The Turks attempted to force the Greek subjects to become Mohammadans; Greek girls . . . were stolen and taken to Turkish harems and Greek boys were kidnapped and placed in Muslim house­holds . . . Everywhere, the Greeks were gatheted in groups and, under the so-called protection of Turkish gendarmes, they were transported, the larger part on foot, into the interior.34

Alfred Van der Zee, Danish consul in the port city of Smyrna, reported in June 1916:



A reign of terror was instituted and the panic stricken Greeks fled as fast as they could to the neighbouring island of Mitylene. Soon the movement spread to Kemer, Kilissekeuy, Kinick, Pergamos and Soma. Armed bashibozuks [Turkish irregular troops] attacked the people residing therein, lifted the cattle, drove them from their farms and took forcible possession thereof. The details of what took place [are] harrowing, women were seduced, girls were ravished, some of them dying from the ill-treatment received, children at the breast were shot or cut down with their mothers.35

That same year, 1916, Ottoman deputy Emanuel Emanuelidi Efendi announced that some "550,000 [Greeks] . . . were killed."36 By this point, the slaughter had spread to the Armenian population; to the Assyrians of southeast Anatolia and Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq); and to the Pontian Greek population of the Black Sea coast. We will consider the experiences of these groups in turn.


It appears that a campaign of race extermination is in progress under a pretext of reprisal against rebellion.

Ambassador Morgenthau to the US Secretary of State, July 16, 1915

As with the other Christian minorities, war catalyzed the onset of mass murder against the Armenians of the Ottoman empire. As early as December 1914 or January 1915, a special conference of the CUP issued a "strictly confidential" document ordering its agents to "close all Armenian Societies, and arrest all who worked against the Government at any time among them and send them into the provinces such as Bagdad or Mosul [i.e., in the distant eastern corner of the empire], and wipe them out either on the road or there? Measures were to be implemented "to exterminate all males under 50, priests and teachers, leav[ing] girls and children to be Islamized," while also "killfing] off" all Armenians in the army.37 This was essentially a blueprint for the genocide that followed.

In April 1915, just as the Allies were about to mount their invasion of the Dardanelles, the Turkish army launched an assault on Armenians in the city of Van, who were depicted as traitorous supportets of the Russian enemy. In scenes that have become central to Armenian national identity, the Armenians of Van organized a desperate resistance that succeeded in fending off the Turks for weeks. Eventually, the resistance was crushed, but it provided the "excuse" for genocide, with the stated justification of removing a population sympathetic to the Russian army. As one Young Turk, Behaeddin Shakir, wrote to a party delegate early in April: "It is the duty of all of us to effect on the broadest lines the realization of the noble project of wiping out of existence the Armenians who have for centuries been constituting a barrier to the Empire's progress in civilization."38

On April 24, in an act of "eliticide" in Constantinople and other major cities, hundreds of Armenian notables were rounded up and imprisoned. The great majority were subsequently murdered, or tortured and worked to death in isolated locales. (To the present, April 24 is commemorated by Armenians around the



world as "Genocide Memorial Day.") This was followed by a coordinated assault on Armenians throughout most of the Armenian-populated zone; a few coastal populations were spared, but would be targeted later.

The opening phase of the assault consisted of a gendercide against Armenian males. Like the opening eliticide, this was aimed at stripping the Atmenian com­munity of those who might mobilize to defend it. Throughout the Armenian territories, males of "battle age" not already in the Ottoman Army were conscripted. In Ambassador Morgenthau's account, Atmenians "were stripped of all their arms and transformed into workmen," then worked to death. In other cases, it "became almost the genetal practice to shoot them in cold blood."39 By July 1915, some 200,000 Armenian men had been murdered,40 reducing the remaining community "to a condition of near-total helplessness, thus an easy prey for destruction."4'

The CUP authotities tutned next to destroying the surviving Armenians. A "Temporary Law of Deportation" and "Temporary Law of Confiscation and Expropriation" were passed by the executive.42 Armenians were told that they were to be transferred to safe havens. However, as Morgenthau wrote, "The real purpose of the depottation was robbery and destruction; it really represented a new method of massacre. When the Turkish authorities gave the orders for these deportations, they were merely giving the death warrant to a whole race; they understood this well, and, in their conversations with me, they made no particular attempt to conceal the fact."43 Modern bureaucratic structures and communications technologies, especially the railroad and telegraph, were critical to the enterprise.

Figure 4.2 A Danish missionary, Maria Jacobsen, took this photo of Armenian men in the ciry of Harput being led away for mass murder on the outskirts of town, May 1915.

Source: Courtesy Karekin Dickran's Danish-Armenian archive collection.



The pattern of deportation was consistent throughout the realm, attesting to its central coordination.44 Armenian populations were called by town criers to assemble in a central location, where they were informed that they would shortly be deported — a day to a week being the time allotted to frantically gather belongings for the journey, and to sell at bargain-basement prices whatever they could. In scenes that prefigured the Nazi deportation of Jews, local populations eagerly exploited Armenians' dispossession. "The scene reminded me of vultutes swooping down on their prey," wrote US Consul Leslie Davis. "It was a veritable Turkish holiday and all the Turks went out in their gala attire to feast and to make merry over the misfortunes of others. ... [It was] the opportunity of a lifetime to get-rich-quick."45

Looting and pillaging were accompanied by a concerted campaign to destroy the Armenian cultural heritage. "Armenian monuments and churches were dynamited, graveyards were plowed under and turned into fields of corn and wheat, and the Armenian quarters of cities were torn down and used for firewood and scrap, or occupied and renamed."46 The Armenian population was led away on foot — or in some cases dispatched by train — to the wastelands of the Deir el-Zor desert in distant Syria, in conditions calculated to kill tens of thousands en route.

Kurdish tribespeople swooped down to pillage and kill, but the main strike force mobilized for mass killing was the chetes, bands of violent convicts who had been active since the 1914 "cleansings" of the Aegean Gteeks, and were now released from prison to exterminate Armenians and other Christians. The genocide's organizers believed that using such forces "would enable the government to deflect responsibility. For as the death tolls rose, they could always say that 'things got out of control,' and it was the result of'groups of brigands.'"47

Figure 4.3 Armenian children and women suffered systematic atrocities during the deporrarions; rhe minority that reached refuge were often on the verge of death from starvation, wounds, and exhaustion.

Source: Maria Jacobsen/Courtesy Karekin Dickran's Danish-Armenian archive collection.



Attacks on the surviving children, women, and elderly of the deportation catavans gave rise to hellish scenes. "The whole course of the journey became a perpetual struggle with the Moslem inhabitants," wrote Morgenthau:

Such as escaped . . . attacks in the open would find new terrors awaiting them in the Moslem villages. Here the Turkish roughs would fall upon the women, leaving them sometimes dead from their experiences or sometimes ravingly insane. . . . Frequently any one who dropped on the road was bayoneted on the spot. The Armenians began to die by hundreds from hunger and thirst. Even when they came to rivers, the gendarmes [guards], merely to torment them, would sometimes not let them drink.48

"In a few days," according to Motgenthau,

what had been a procession of normal human beings became a stumbling horde of dust-covered skeletons, ravenously looking for scraps of food, eating any offal that came their way, crazed by the hideous sights that filled evety hour of their existence, sick with all the diseases that accompany such hardships and privations, but still prodded on and on by the whips and clubs and bayonets of their

In thousands of cases, children and women were kidnapped and seized by villagers; the women were kept as servants and sex-slaves, the childten converted to Islam and raised as "Turks." One young male survivor described his group being gathered togethet in a field while word went out to the local population: "Whoever wants a woman or child, come and get them." "Albert said that people came and took whomever they wanted, comparing the scene to sheep being sold at an auction."50


Ester Ahronian remembered her childhood in the Anatolian town of Amasia as idyllic. "In the center of our courtyard we had a large mulberry tree with the sweetest mulberries I ever tasted. I would lie under the thick branches and reach up for handfuls of soft berries. Sometimes they fell off the branches onto my face and eyes. The cool, sweet juice ran down my cheeks into my ears. ... I believed with all my heart that my world would never change. Nothing bad could ever happen to me."

But in May 1915, dark rumors began reaching Amasia - rumors of persecution of the Ottoman empire's Armenian population. One day, returning from school, Ahronian witnessed a young Armenian man being dragged to the town's central square and hanged. By the end of the month, "the streets were crowded with soldiers carrying rifles with fixed bayonets," and a Turkish leader of the town



announced that all able-bodied Armenian males were to present themselves to the authorities. "I watched from my window as groups of men gathered daily in the street. Then, bunches of twenty or thirty were marched out of the city by the soldiers." "As soon as they are outside the city limits they will kill them and come back for more," a neighbor declared.

Shortly after, Ester observed a group of Turkish soldiers approaching an Armenian church. She "watched as a soldier threw a lit torch into an open window. The other soldiers laughed and shouted, let's see your Christian God save you now. You will roast like pigs.' Then the screaming began ..." Her father was taken away to detention by Turkish forces - never to be seen again. In the face of the mounting persecution, some Armenian girls agreed to be married to Muslim men, "promising] never to speak the Armenian language or practice Christianity again." But Ester refused, and instead joined one of the caravans leaving Amasia as the town was emptied of its Christian population. "Aksor -the deportation word everyone in town was whispering. What did it mean? What would it be like?"

She soon learned. "We were only a half hour out of town when a group of Kurds charged down from the mountains and attacked the first group at the front of the caravan." The soldiers allegedly guarding them joined, instead, in the slaughter and pillage. "Then the soldiers came for the girls. The prettiest ones were taken first." Ester's grandmother clad her in baggy garb and smeared her with mud and raw garlic, and she was momentarily spared.

Her caravan "passed a deep pit by the side of the road filled with the naked bodies of young and old men." Another attack by soldiers: "Wagons were overturned. The sound of bullets filled the air. . . . Around us lay the dead and near-dead." Pausing by a river, she watched bodies and parts of bodies floating by. Almost comatose with trauma and exhaustion, she was seized by Kurds who thought she had expired; they stripped her and threw her "into a wagon filled with naked dead bodies. I lay there, not moving under the pile of rotting flesh." She was dumped with the bodies over a cliff. An elderly Armenian woman, disguising her ethnicity in order to work for Kurds, rescued her, and offered her a life-saving proposition: to toil as a domestic with a Muslim notable, Yousouf Bey, and his family. "Yes, if they'll have me, I'll work for them," Ester agreed.51

In Yousouf Bey's home, she overheard Turks boasting of their massacre of Armenians. She was told that when she had recovered from her ordeal, she would be married off to a Muslim. She entreated Yousouf Bay to release her. He agreed to send her to an orphanage in the city of Malatya - but before doing so, he drugged her and raped her, brutally taking her virginity. "It was his parting gift to me."

At the orphanage, "once a week, Turks came and took their pick of the girls. They chose as many as they wanted for cooks, field workers, housekeepers, or wives. Like



slaves, no one asked any questions. No one had any choice." She was claimed by Shamil, a teenage Muslim boy, and forced to marry him. In Shamil's poor household, "three times a day we faced Mecca and chanted Muslim prayers." When she was discovered in possession of a cherished crucifix, Shamil whipped her until blood flowed.

Finally seizing her opportunity, Ester fled and took refuge with the Bagradians, one of the few Armenian families allowed to survive - they were blacksmiths, deemed essential laborers by the Turks. Finally, she was able to make her way back to her hometown of Amasia. "A heavy silence hung over the streets like a dark cloud. . . . I was returning to the scene of a violent crime." Approaching her house, she found it occupied by a Turkish woman. "You have no rights," the woman tells her. "I'm leaving, so you can have your house back but I'm taking everything in it with me. If you make a fuss, I'll have you arrested." Hunkering down there, she discovered that "those Armenian families that remained in the city spoke only Turkish. All the Armenian churches were boarded up and stood as empty shadows against the clear sky."

She was befriended by Frau Gretel, the wife of a distant relative. Eventually, the war ended; but in 1920 a new wave of killings of Armenians descended. "Escape with us to America," Gretel implored her, and she consented. "The only thing I brought with me to America was my memory - the thing I most wanted to leave behind." Ester forged a new life on the east coast of the US, living to the ripe age of 98. Resident in an old-age home, she finally opened up to her daughter, Margaret, about her experiences during the genocide of Anatolia's Christian population. She dis­claimed any feeling of hatred for her Turkish persecutors: "Hatred is like acid, it burns through the container. You must let go of bad memories." Margaret published her mother's recollections several years after Ester's deati, in 2007.52

For those not abducted, the death marches usually meant extermination. Morgenthau cited one convoy that began with 18,000 people and arrived at its destination with 150. The state of most survivors was such that they often died within days of reaching refuge. J.B. Jackson, the US consul in Aleppo, Syria, recounted eyewitness descriptions of

over 300 women [who] arrived at Ras-el-Ain, at that time the most eastetly station to which the German—Baghdad railway was completed, entirely naked, their hair flowing in the air like wild beasts, and after travelling six days afoot in the burning sun. Most of these persons arrived in Aleppo a few days afterwards, and some of them personally came to the Consulate and exhibited their bodies to me, burned to the color of a green olive, the skin peeling off in great blotches, and many of them carrying gashes on the head and wounds on the body as a result of the terrible beatings inflicted by the Kurds.53



By 1917, between half and two-thirds of Ottoman Armenians had been exter­minated. Large-scale massacres continued. In the final months of the First World War, Turkey crossed the Russian frontier and occupied sizable parts of Russian Armenia. There, according to Dadrian, "the genocidal engine of destruction unleashed by the Young Turk Ittihadists was once more activated to decimate and destroy the other half of the Armenian population living beyond the established frontiers of Turkey. . . . According to Soviet and Armenian sources, in five months of Turkish conquest and occupation about 200,000 Armenians of the region perished."54 Meanwhile, "Armenians attacked civilian populations in Turkish towns and villages, massacring civilians and doing as much damage as they could. Having survived genocide, some of the Armenian irregulars were attempting to avenge the atrocities of 1915-"55


In his careful research, beginning with a groundbreaking article in Genocide Studies and Prevention and continuing through his meticulous 2010 study of Genocide in the Middle East, Hannibal Travis has shown that the targeting of the Assyrians was fully comparable to that of the Atmenians, in scale, strategy, and severity — and was recognized as such at the time it was inflicted. "The Assyrian genocide," he wrote, is "indistinguishable in principle from the Armenian genocide, despite being smaller in size":

Starting in 1914 and with particular ferocity in 1915 and 1918, Ottoman soldiers and Kurdish and Persian militia subjected hundreds of thousands of Assyrians to a deliberate campaign of massacre, torture, abduction, deportation, impoverish­ment, and cultural and ethnic destruction. Established principles of international law outlawed this campaign of extermination before it was embarked upon, and ample evidence of genocidal intent has surfaced in the form of admissions by Ottoman officials. Nevertheless, the international community has been hesitant to recognize the Assyrian experience as a form of genocide.56

The foundation for the campaign against the Assyrians was an October 1914 edict from the Interior Ministry that the Assyrian population of the Van region should "depart." In June 1915, it was the same region that served as a flashpoint for both the Armenian and Assyrian mass killings, and the suffering of the Assyrian Christians was, as Travis says, "indistinguishable" from that of the Armenians. As David Gaunt describes the slaughter,

The degree of extermination and the brutality of the massacres indicate extreme pent-up hatred on the popular level. Christians, the so-called gawur infidels, were being killed in almost all sorts of situations. They were collected at the local town hall, walking in the streets, fleeing on the roads, at harvest, in the villages, in the caves and tunnels, in the caravanserais [travelers' inns], in the prisons, under torture, on the river rafts, on road repair gangs, on the way to be put on trial. There was no specific and technological way of carrying out the murders like the Nazis'



extermination camps. A common feature was that those killed were unarmed, tied up, or otherwise defenseless. All possible means of killing were used: shooting, stabbing, stoning, crushing, throat cutting, throwing off of roofs, drowning, decapitation. Witnesses talk of seeing collections of ears and noses and of brigands boasting of their collections of female body parts.57

Joseph Naayem, an Assyro-Chaldean priest, received firsthand reports from the town of Sa'irt (also known as Seert) in Bitlis province. Assyro-Chaldean deaths in Sa'irt were later estimated as numbering 7,000 to 8,000 - with massacres of Chaldeans sub­stantially adding to the toll.58 Naayem cited testimony that the "chettes" (Ottoman criminal gangs) had gathered Sa'irt's men, marched them to the valley of Zeryabe, and massacred them. Women and girls were then set upon.59 An Ottoman officer, Raphael de Nogales, described the aftermath:

The ghastly slope was crowned by thousands of half-nude and still bleeding corpses, lying in heaps, or interlaced in death's final embtace. . . . Overcome by the hideous spectacle, and jumping our horses over the mountains of cadavers, which obstructed our passage, I entered Siirt with my men. There we found the police and the populace engaged in sacking the homes of the Christians. ... I met various sub-Governors of the province . . . who had directed the massacre in person. From their talk I realized at once that the thing had been arranged the day before . . . Meanwhile I had taken up my lodging in a handsome house belonging to Nestorians, which had been sacked like all the rest. There was nothing left in the way of furniture except a few broken chairs. Walls and floors were stained with blood.60

Ambassador Morgenthau's account of the destruction of the Christian minorities asserted that the "same methods" of attack were inflicted on the Assyrians ("Nestorians" and "Syrians," as he called them) as on Armenians and Greeks. "The greatest crime of all ages," as he called it in a missive to the White House, was "the horrible massacre of helpless Armenians and Syrians."61

A British officer based in Persia, Sir Percy Sykes, later suggested that if the Assyrians had not fled in terror to northern Persia, they would have experienced "extermination at the hands of Turks and Kurds."62 But as many as 65,000 died from exhaustion, malnourishment, and disease en route to refuge in Persia, or after their arrival.63 The suffering of Assyrians in Mesopotamia (Iraq) was no less.64 All told, "about half of the Assyrian nation died of murder, disease, or exposure as refugees during the war," according to Anglican Church representatives on the ground. "Famine and want were the fate of the survivors, whose homes, villages, churches and schools were wiped out."65 The remnants of the Assyrian population of southeastern Anatolia crossed into Mesopotamia, then under British control, and settled in refugee camps there. The British brought no resolution to their plight, though a civil commissioner of the time acknowledged it was "largely of our own creation and a solution has been made more difficult by our own action, or rather inaction."66 It is in that zone of present-day Iraq that their descendants have been exposed to new rounds of persecution, "ethnic cleansing," and genocidal killing, as described in Box 4a.




Approximately 350,000 Pontian Greeks are believed to be among the Christian minori­ties slaughtered between 1914 and 1922. The Turks began targeting the millennia-old community along the Black Sea coast as early as 1916. Their extermination therefore long predated the renewed killings and persecutions of the post-World War One period, accompanying the Greek invasion of Anatolia. Missionary testimony cited by George Horton in his account of the late-Ottoman genocides, The Blight of Asia, dated the onset of "the Greek deportations from the Black Sea" to January 1916:

These Greeks came through the city of Marsovan by thousands [reported a missionary], walking for the most part the three days' journey through the snow and mud and slush of the winter weather. Thousands fell by the wayside from exhaustion and others came into the city of Marsovan in groups of fifty, one hundred and five hundred, always under escort of Turkish gendarmes. Next morning these poor refugees were started on the road and destruction by this treatment was even more radical than a straight massacre such as the Armenians suffered before.67


Figure 4.4 Sano Halo (seated at left), aged 100, takes her oath of honorary Greek citizenship at the Greek consulare in New York City, June 11, 2009.68 Sano is accompanied by her daughter Thea Halo, who told Sano's story of surviving the Pontian Greek genocide in her book Not Even My Name. Thea, who received honorary Greek citizenship alongside her mother, was a prime mover in a 2007 resolution by which the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS) formally recognized the Greek and Assyrian genocides alongside the Armenian one.

Sourer. Costas Euthalitsidis/Courtesy Thea Halo.



Once Sano was Themia: like so many survivors of genocide, she has been stripped of her name along with the life she was born into, in the Pontian Greek-dominated region along the Black Sea coast, in 1909.

"We never thought that one day we would be forced to leave our paradise," Sano related in her daughter Thea's memoir, Not Even My Name. "Our history went back too far to believe that, and we had survived invasion after invasion for 3,000 years. By the time of Alexander the Great's short rule between 336 and 323 BC, Greeks had already been living in Asia Minor, or Ionia as they called it, for over 800 years. . . . Pontus flourished as a great commercial and educational center. After decades of war, the Romans finally conquered the kingdom of Pontus in 63 BC. But the Greek culture continued to have great influence. The conquered gave culture to the conqueror."

During the First World War, Halo's mountain village was not attacked, but her father was one of the many Greek men swept up by the notorious labor battalions, or Amele Tabourou. He managed to escape, and conveyed a chilling report to his family: "The camps are cold and full of vermin. We're worked day and night without enough food to eat or a decent place to sleep or wash. In some camps the Greeks are just left to die with nothing at all. Even when the war was still being fought, the Turks left the Greeks behind to be killed without arms to defend themselves or food to eat. I think that's what they want, for all of us to die."

When Themia and her family were finally swept up in the carnage, in 1921-22, the campaign bore the same genocidal hallmarks of massacre and death march that had been deployed against diverse Christian populations during the war period. Themia and her family were launched on a march that lasted "for seven to eight months from the frigid mountainous regions of the north through the desertlike plains of the south without concern for food, water, or shelter." The landscape changed from green to "jagged cliffs and parched, coarse earth . . . The sun beat down on us all day..." After four months, Themia's "shoes wore out completely. Walking through this barren land with bare feet was like walking on pitted glass. The food we had brought was also gone. Each day brought another death, another body left to decompose on the side of the road. Some simply fell dead in their tracks. Their crumpled bodies littered the road like pieces of trash flung from a passing cart, left for buzzards and wolves."69

To save her from starvation, Themia's mother left her with an Assyrian family in the south of Turkey, where she received the Kurdish name Sano. After she ran away, an Armenian family took Themia in and brought her to Aleppo, Syria. There she was presented to Abraham, an Assyrian Christian who had emigrated to America twenty years before. She agreed to marry him, beginning a new life across the oceans and surviving to the present day. In 2000, her daughter Thea published Sano's story, based in part on a journey that mother and daughter made to the Pontian village of Sano's youth. In 2009, on her centennial birthday, Sano was granted honorary Greek citizenship (see Figure 4.4).



Figure 4.5 "Weeding Out the Men: All men of military age were torn away from their wives and children and led away in groups for deportation to the interior" (original caption). Image from the Pontian Greek genocide — the date is given as 1915; the precise location is uncertain.

Source: George Horton, The Blight of Asia (1926).70

As the Paris Peace Negotiations ground on in 1919, the victorious Allies invited Greece, which had joined their side in 1917, to occupy the city of Smyrna on Turkey's Aegean coast. A large Greek community still resided there, even after the 1914-15 "cleansings," and by the end of the war, the Christian population of the city had been swelled by Armenian and Assyrian refugees. The 1920 Treaty of Sevres, though never implemented, formally recognized Greece's intervention.

The problems associated with the decision to dispatch Turkey's historic enemy to occupy a major city and stretch of Turkish coastline were compounded by the further failure to specify how far the Greek zone of occupation extended. The result was a violent occupation of Smyrna in 1919, with the Greeks and fellow Christians inflicting atrocities while "pacifying" the city and expanding into surrounding areas. This was followed by an opportunistic invasion of the Anatolian heartland.71 Ill-judged, abjured by the Allies, increasingly unpopular with the Greek population and its soldiers, this invasion was also accompanied by atrocities and destruction, in pro­claimed vengeance for the wartime genocides of Greeks and other Christians. The atrocities and the strategic natute of the invasion appeared to "put the very survival of any Turkish state in question," wrote historian Benjamin Lieberman. ". . . With the Greek invasion there was no obvious end in sight, no boundary to fall back on, and no security for a new Turkey. Many Turks saw their nation threatened by nothing less than extermination."72

Turkish fury and vengefulness ignited a further genocidal explosion against Anatolian Greeks, including Pontians, before the Greek army was finally driven from Turkish soil at Smyrna in 1922. The Near East Relief committee (see Figure 4.1) described 30,000 Pontian Greek refugees in flight from their homes in 1922, with



some 14,000 killed, and noted that "the Turkish authorities were frank in their state­ments that it was the intention to have Greeks die and all of their actions . . . seem to fully bear this statement out," including forcing the deportees to march through "severe snow storms" while doing "practically everything within [their] power to prevent any relief."73

An estimate of the Pontian Greek death toll at all stages of the anti-Christian genocide is about 350,000; for all the Greeks of the Ottoman realm taken together, the toll surely exceeded half a million, and may approach the 900,000 killed that a team of US researchers found in the eatly postwar period. Most surviving Greeks were expelled to Greece as part of the tumultuous "population exchanges" that set the seal on a heavily "Turkified" state. Apart from an anti-Greek pogrom in Istanbul in 1955 (the culmination of a series that reduced the Greek population from 297,788 in 1924 to fewer than 3,000 today),74 only the restive Kurdish minority remained to challenge ethnic-Turkish hegemony within the new state boundaries. The Kurds, accordingly, were mercilessly repressed from the 1930s to the 1980s, a story that lies beyond the bounds of this account.75


Turkey's defeat in the First World War, and the subsequent collapse and occupation of the Ottoman Empire, offered surviving Armenians an opportunity for national self-determination. In 1918, an independent Republic of Armenia was declared in the southwestern portion of Transcaucasia, a historically Armenian territory that had been under Russian sovereignty since the early nineteenth century. US President Woodrow Wilson was granted the right to delimit a new Armenian nation, formalized at the Treaty of Sevres in 1920. Later that year, Wilson supervised the drawing of boundaries for independent Armenia that included parts of historic Ottoman Armenia in eastern Turkey.

Turkey, however, staged a rapid political recovery following its abject military defeat. The new leader, Mustafa Kemal (known as Ataturk, "father of the Turks"), repelled the Greek invasion through the bloody and indiscriminate countermeasures as described above; renounced the Sevres Treaty; and in a secret gathering, declared it "indispensable that Armenia be annihilated politically and physically."76 The Kemalist forces invaded, and reconquered six of the former Ottoman provinces that had been granted to independent Armenia under Sevres. What remained of Armenia was swallowed up by the new Soviet Union. Following a brief period of cooperation with Armenian nationalists, the Soviets took complete control in 1921, and Armenia was incorporated into the Transcaucasian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic (TSFSR) in 1922. A separate Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic was created in 1936. Greeks had nearly all been killed or expelled, and surviving Assyrian populations were clustered outside Anatolia, under British mandatory control in Mesopotamia. The stage was set for the rebirth of Turkish nationalism and the resuscitation of Turkish statehood.

In the interim (1918—20) between the Ottoman collapse and the ascendancy of the Ataturk regime, and at the insistence of the Allies (who, as early as 1915, with



Figure 4.6 Mustafa Kemal, known as Ataturk - "father of the Turks" - in the eatly 1920s. After the ctushing defeat of the First World War, he used his common touch and charisma to rally the Tutks to expel foreign occupiers and restore Anatolia as the heartland of a post-Ottoman state. Ataturk modernized and secularized Turkish society, and established the country as an influential and straregic player in international politics. But the Turkish ethnonationalism that he both mobilized and catalyzed has proved to be a volatile quantity. It led to further massacres of Christians in the early Kemalist petiod, and the marginalization and persecution of the country's large Kurdish minority thereaftet. And it impeded Turks' honest engagement with their country's pasr, including the genocides of the First Wotld Wat period. Turks are, ot course, hardly alone in such nationalistic/patriotic hubris and selective readings of history. See Chaprers 2, 10, 14, and 16 for examples and furrher discussion.

Source: Wikimedia Commons.

an eye on the postwar dismemberment of the Turkish heartland, had accused the Young Turk rulers of "crimes against humanity"), the Turkish government - at British insistence, and in the hope of winning more favorable terms from the Allies at the Paris Peace Conference - held a remarkable series of trials of those accused of directing and implementing the Armenian genocide.

In April 1919, the Court pronounced that "the disaster visiting the Armenians was not a local or isolated event. It was the result of a premeditated decision taken by a centtal body . . . and the immolations and excesses which took place were based on oral and written orders issued by that central body."77 Over a hundred former government officials were indicted, and a number were convicted, with Talat, Enver, and a pair of other leadership figures sentenced to death in absentia. After three relatively minor figures were executed, nationalist sentiment in Turkey exploded, greatly strengthening Ataturk's revolution. The British Foreign Office reported that "not one Turk in a thousand can conceive that there might be a Turk who deserves



to be hanged for the killing of Christians"78 - and in the face of that opposition and Allied pandering, the impetus for justice began to waver. "Correspondingly the sentences grew weaker, as the court refrained from handing down death sentences, finding most of the defendants only 'guilty of robbery, plunder, and self-enrichment at the expense of the victims.'"79

Eventually, in a tactic duplicated by Serbs in Bosnia-Herzegovina decades later (Chapter 8), Ataturk took dozens of British hostages from among the occupying forces. For Britain, which had decided some time earlier that the best policy was "cutting its losses," this was the final straw.80 Anxious to secure the hostages' release, and to placate the new Turkish regime, the British freed many of the Turks in its custody. In July 1923, the Allies signed the Treaty of Lausanne with the Turks, which made no mention of the independent Armenia pledged at Sevres. It was an "abject, cowardly and infamous surrender," in the estimation of British politician Lloyd George.81

Denied formal justice, Armenian militants settled on a vigilante version. All thtee of the main organizers of the genocide were assassinated: Talat Pasha in Berlin in 1921, at the hands of Soghomon Tehlirian, who had lost most members of his family in the genocide; Enver Pasha while leading an anti-Bolshevik revolt in Turkestan in 1922 (in an ambush "led by an Atmenian Bolshevik officer");82 and Jemal Pasha, by Armenians in Tiflis in 1922.


In 1915, the Allies staged an attempted invasion of Turkey at Gallipoli. During nine months of attacks launched from the narrow ribbon of beach they occupied, up precipitous cliffs and through thorny gullies, the Allies sought fruitlessly to reach the straits.83 Fierce Turkish resistance stopped every thrust. In the end the Allies withdrew, having suffered tens of thousands of casualties, mostly from disease. Today, their carefully tended cemeteries dot the landscape, as do those where a similar number of Turkish casualties are buried.

It is likely that if the Gallipoli campaign had succeeded, the genocide against the Armenians would not have occurred. But it did — unless, that is, you shared the views of the author of a guidebook to the battlefields, available at souvenir shops in Cannakale across the Straits. According to this text, the Armenians were "privileged subjects of the Ottoman Empire [who] had been disloyal during the war, having crossed the [Russian] border, joined the Russian Army, and fought against the Turks":

Furthermore, they were hoarding arms for a movement to set up an independent Armenian state in Turkey. They had staked their future on the victory of the Allies and, like the Greeks, gloated over every Turkish reverse in the war. They were rich, and many of them handled commerce throughout the empire. In effect, they were a fifth column inside the country. . . . The leaders were punished with death and the rest put on the road to the south of the empire, to Syria and Mesopotamia [Iraq], in order to reduce the Armenian population near the Russian border. This event would later be introduced to the world as the so-called "Turkish massacre"



and be turned into negative propaganda against the modern Republic of Turkey by the Armenian diaspora.84

For the guidebook's authot, the death and destruction inflicted on the Armenians did not constitute genocide or even "massacre"; it was a necessary and morally justi­fiable response to the machinations of Armenian rebels. In espousing these views, moreover, the author was simply reflecting the general, indeed semi-official Turkish attitude towards the Armenian genocide.

This is classic genocide denial, force-fed to an international community by a sustained government campaign. As Bloxham summarized, Turkey has "written the Armenians out of its history books, and systematically destroyed Armenian archi­tecture and monuments to erase any physical traces of an Armenian presence." Moreover, "Armenian genocide denial is backed by the full force of a Turkish state machinery that has pumped substantial funding into public-relations firms and American university endowments to provide a slick and superficially plausible defence of its position."85 In these efforts (analyzed in comparative context in Chapter 14), Turkey has been greatly assisted by its alliance with the US.86 For the US, Turkey was critically important in the "containment" of the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Today, it is seen as a secular bulwark against Muslim-fundamentalist ferment in the Middle East. Accordingly, US military leaders, as well as "security"-minded politicians, have played a key role in denial of the genocide.87 The close US-Turkish relationship means that Turkish studies in the United States is well-funded, not only through Turkish government sources, but thanks to the large number of contractors (mainly arms manufacturers) who do business with Turkey.

In recent years, however, the denial efforts of the Turkish government and its supporters have met with decreasing success. "Today, twenty countries, most of them


Figure 4.7 1915: the missing volume of Ottoman history. Poster by Yervant Herian.

Source: Courtesy Yervant Herian/ www.armeniangenocide.



in Europe, acknowledge the Armenian Genocide, as do the European Parliament, the United Nations, and the International Association of Genocide Scholars."88 The most prominent national-level action was a 1998 resolution by the French National Assembly: a single sentence reading, "France recognizes the Armenian genocide of 1915."89 This was passed over strong Turkish objections and threats of economic reprisals against French companies doing business with Turkey. In April 2004, the Canadian House of Commons voted to recognize "the death of 1.5 million Atmenians between 1915 and 1923 as a genocide . . . and condemn this act as a crime against humanity."90

The United States still held out. After numerous abortive initiatives, the House of Representatives seemed poised in October 2000 to acknowledge the Atmenian tragedy as genocide, and condemn its perpetrators. However, "minutes before the House was due to vote" on the measure, "J. Dennis Hastert, the speaker, withdrew the resolution . . . citing President Clinton's warnings that a vote could harm national security and hurt relations with Turkey, a NATO ally." President-to-be Barack Obama expressed his support on the campaign trail for formal recognition of the Armenian genocide, including the proposed congressional resolution, while campaigning in 2008: "As a US Senator, I have stood with the Armenian American community in calling for Turkey's acknowledgement of the Armenian Genocide." But as president, he has refrained from issuing a presidential declaration on the subject -as he pledged to do - and he carefully avoided using the word "genocide" during his April 2009 visit to Turkey.91

One reason cited for Obama's demurral was the sensitive question of Turkish-Armenian relations, which reached a kind of resolution in October 2009 with the signing in Zurich of an accord to re-establish diplomatic and economic relations between the two countries, severed since the 1990s crisis over the Armenian-majority zone of Nagorno-Karabakh in Azerbaijan. This set aside the genocide recognition issue, merely establishing a joint "impartial historical commission" to examine the issue. Fot some Atmenians in the diaspota, and others, this suggested that the factual status of the genocide still had to be determined: the International Association of Genocide Scholars president, William Schabas, responded with a declaration that "acknowledge­ment of the Armenian Genocide must be the starting point of any 'impat tial historical commission,' not one of its possible conclusions."92 The keen observer of international affairs, Gwynne Dyer, pointed to how the genocide was being "remembered" differently (see Chapter 14) by the two main Armenian branches:

The most anguished protests came from the Armenian diaspora — eight million people living mainly in the United States, France, Russia, Iran and Lebanon. There are only three million people living in Armenia itself, and remittances from the diaspora are twice as large as the country's entire budget, so the views of overseas Atmenians matter. Unfortunately, their views are quite different from those of the people who actually live in Atmenia. For Armenians abroad, making the Turks admit that they planned and carried out a genocide is supremely important. Indeed, it has become a core part of their identity. For most of those who are still in Armenia, getting the Turkish border re-opened is a higher priority.9-1



In Turkey itself, the picture is mixed. The international community was shocked by the assassination of Hrant Dink, aTurkish newspaper editor of Armenian background who had published widely on the Armenian genocide and Turkish—Armenian reconciliation. After years of death threats, Dink was gunned down in the stteets of Istanbul in Januaty 2007; his assassin was a 17-year-old Turkish nationalist. Other prominent figures who have spoken about the genocide, including the Nobel Prize-winning author Orhan Pamuk, have likewise been hounded, threatened, and prosecuted (as was Dink, three times) for "insulting Turkishness."9"*

On the other hand, notable cracks have appeared in the facade of denial. In extra­ordinary scenes after Dink's killing, some two hundred thousand Turkish mourners marched in his funeral procession: "cries of Hepimiz Ermeniz ('We are all Armenians!') [sounded] in the throats of tens of thousands of Turks."95 This new sense of solidarity was evident in the brave scholarship of Taner Akcam and others, and relatedly in the move towards rapprochement with the country's Kurdish minority. In 2008, a quartet of Turkish intellectuals - Ahmet Insel, Baskin Oran, Ali Bayramoglu, and Cengiz Aktar - risked the wrath of the state, and nationalist vigilantes, by issuing a "public apology" for the Armenian genocide, in which the signatories declared:

My conscience does not accept the insensitivity showed to and the denial of the Great Catastrophe that the Ottoman Armenians were subj ected to in 1915.1 rej ect this injustice and for my share, I empathise with the feelings and pain of my Armenian brothets. I apologise to them.96

Despite such dramatic gestures, "history," according to the Turkish writer Sechuk Tezgul, was still "waiting for that honest Turkish leader who will acknowledge his ancestors' biggest crime ever, who will apologize to the Armenian people, and who will do his best to indemnify them, materially and morally, in the eyes of the world."97

Recognition of the genocides of the other Christian populations of the Ottoman realm has also proceeded incrementally. In an announcement which ran counter to a tendency toward an "exclusivity of suffering,"98 the Armenian National Committee of Ametica (ANCA) "join[ed] with Pontian Greeks - and all Hellenes around the world - in commemorating . . . the genocide initiated by the Ottoman Empire and continued by Kemalist Turkey against the historic Greek population of Pontus along the southeastetn coast of the Black Sea." "We join with the Hellenic American community in solemn remembrance of the Pontian Genocide, and in reaffirming our determination to work togethet with all the victims of Turkey's atrocities to secure full recognition and justice for these crimes," said ANCA's director, Aram Hamparian. By 2007, a number of US states, including Florida, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania, had also passed formal acts of recognition.

A more recent initiative was spearheaded in the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS). A resolution was placed before the IAGS membership to recognize the Greek and Assyrian/Chaldean components of the Ottoman genocide against Christians, alongside the Armenian strand of the genocide (which the IAGS had already formally acknowledged). The result, passed emphatically in December 2007 despite not inconsiderable opposition, was a resolution which I co-drafted, reading as follows:



WHEREAS the denial of genocide is widely recognized as the final stage of genocide, enshrining impunity for the perpetrators of genocide, and demonstrably paving the way for future genocides;

WHEREAS the Ottoman genocide against minority populations during and following the Fitst World War is usually depicted as a genocide against Armenians alone, with little recognition of the qualitatively similar genocides against other Christian minorities of the Ottoman Empire;

BE IT RESOLVED that it is the conviction of the International Association of Genocide Scholars that the Ottoman campaign against Christian minorities of the Empire between 1914 and 1923 constituted a genocide against Armenians, Assyrians, and Pontian and Anatolian Greeks.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Association calls upon the government of Turkey to acknowledge the genocides against these populations, to issue a formal apology, and to take prompt and meaningful steps toward restitution."

In my view, the initiative typified one of the more positive aspects of genocide studies: the opportunity to help in resuscitating long-forgotten or marginalized events for a contemporary audience; in acknowledging the victims and survivors of the genocide; and in exposing accepted framings and discourses to critical reexamination. Such processes themselves represent a kind of "humanitarian intervention" — primarily in the realms of histoty and memory, but also in contemporary crises, by highlighting the plight of vulnerable descendant populations today.


Tanet Akcam, A Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish Responsibility. New York: Metropolitan Books, 2006. Based on intensive archival research in Turkish sources, the story of the planning, perpetration, and aftermath of the Armenian holocaust. See also From Empire to Republic: Turkish Nationalism and the Armenian Genocide.

Peter Balakian, The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and Americas Response. New York: HarperCollins, 2003. The best overview of the genocide and the US humanitarian response; see also Black Dog of Fate (memoir).

Donald Bloxham, The Great Game of Genocide: Imperialism, Nationalism, and the Destruction of the Ottoman Armenians. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005. Excellent on the international machinations surrounding the "Atmenian question." See also Genocide, the World Wars and the Unweaving of Europe.

Sebastien de Couttois, The Forgotten Genocide: Eastern Christians, The Last Arameans, trans. Vincent Aurora. Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias Press, 2004. One of the very few studies of the destruction of Assyrian/Syriac communities under the Ottomans.

Vahakn N. Dadrian, The History of the Armenian Genocide: Ethnic Conflict from the Balkans to Anatolia to the Caucasus. Providence, RI: Berghahn Books, 1995. Background to the genocide.



Marjorie Housepian Dobkin, Smyrna 1922: The Destruction of a City. New York:

Newmark Press, 1998 (reprint). A standard though somewhat partisan account

of one of the last spasms of war and "cleansing" in the Ottoman period. David Gaunt, Massacres, Resistance, Protectors: Muslim-Christian Relations in Eastern

Anatolia during World War L Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias Press, 2006. Exhaustive

survey of the mass violence in this little-studied corner of the empire. Thea Halo, Not Even My Name. New York: Picador, 2001. Moving account of a

survivor of the Pontian Greek genocide - the author's mother (Sano Halo, still

alive in 2010, aged 100; see Figute 4.4, p. 163). Richard G. Hovannisian, ed., The Armenian Genocide in Perspective. New Brunswick,

NJ: Transaction Publishers, 1986. Early collection, still in print and still a concise

and lucid introduction. Donald E. Miller and Lorna Touryan Miller, Survivors: An Oral History of the

Armenian Genocide. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1999. Focuses

on the experiences of Armenian children. Henry Morgenthau, AmbassadorMorgenthau's Story, /wwi-www/

morgenthau/MorgenTC.htm. Memoirs of the US Ambassador to Constantinople. Ronald Grigor Suny, Looking Toward Ararat: Armenia in Modern History.

Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1993. Examines the rise of Armenian

nationalism, the genocide, and the subsequent politics of Soviet Armenia and

the diaspora.

The Treatment of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, 1915—16. http://net.lib.byu.

edu/-rdh7/wwi/1915/bryce/. Text of the British "Blue Book" (published in 1916)

on atrocities against the Armenians. Speros Vryonis, Jr., The Mechanism of Catastrophe: The Turkish Pogrom of September

6—7, 1955, and the Destruction of the Greek Community of Istanbul. New York:

Greekworks, 2007. Meticulous investigation of an anti-Gteek pogrom in post-

Kemalist Turkey.


1 In German, "Wer redet heute nocb von der Vernichtung der Armenier?" Hitler quoted in Ronnie S. Landau, The Nazi Holocaust (Chicago, IL: Ivan R. Dee, 1994), p. 15. On the documentary evidence for Hitler's statement, see Vahakn N. Dadrian, The History of the Armenian Genocide: Ethnic Conflict from the Balkans to Anatolia to the Caucasus (6th rev. edn) (New York: Berghahn Books, 2003), pp. 403-09.

2 I follow Travis in referring "to the Assyrians, Nestorians, Chaldeans, and Syrian/Syriac Christians collectively as Assyrians. All of them are descended from the indigenous inhabitants of Mesopotamia, southeastern Anatolia, and northwestern Persia; Persian, Greek, and Arab rulers, as well as Chaldean Patriarchs, Syrian/Syriac priests and monks, and theit Atmenian neighbors, have referred to all three groups together as 'Assyrians.'" Travis, Genocide in the Middle East: The Ottoman Empire, Iraq, and Sudan (Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press, 2010), p. 237 (n. 2).

3 Travis, Genocide in the Middle East, p. 299. As Travis points out, the original title of the famous "Blue Book," the Allied compilation of documents on Turkish atrocities, was Papers and Documents on the Treatment of Armenians andTissyrian Christians by the Turks, 1915—1916, in the Ottoman Empire and North-West Persia. The phrase "and Assyrian Christians" was deleted prior to the book's publication in Britain, and all references to



anti-Assyrian atrocities were removed from the French version presented at the posrwat Paris Peace Conference (Genocide in the Middle East, p. 253).

4 Taner Ak^am, A Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish Responsibility (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2006), p. 43.

5 Donald Bloxham, The Great Game of Genocide: Imperialism, Nationalism, and the Destruction of the Ottoman Armenians (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), p. 71.

6 Wangenheim quoted in Akfam, A Shameful Act, p. 121.

7 Thea Halo, Not Even My Name (New York: Picador USA, 2001), p. 131.

8 Hannibal Travis, personal communication, January 25, 2010. Travis notes that the estimate squares with that of David Gaunt, and also the figures submitted to the Paris Peace Conference shortly after the events.

9 For a useful overview of contemporary anti-Christian persecution and genocide, asserting that "Christians are now considered the most persecuted religious group around the world," see "Christianity's Modern-Day Martyrs," Spiegel Online, February 28, 2010, http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,680349,00.html.

10 Throughout this chapter, for convenience, I refer to "Turkey" and "the Ottoman Empire" interchangeably.

11 Vahakn Dadrian, "Documentation of the Armenian Genocide in Turkish Sources," in Israel Charny, ed., Genocide: A Critical Bibliographic Review, Vol. 2 (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 1991); Dadrian, "The Role of Turkish Physicians in the World War I Genocide of Ottoman Armenians," Holocaust and Genocide Studies, 1 (1986), pp. 172-75, 184.

12 Ben Kiernan, Blood and Soil: A World History of Genocide and Extermination from Sparta to Darfur (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2009), p. 402.

13 Bloxham, The Great Game of Genocide, pp. 30-31.

14 Donald Bloxham, Genocide, the World Wars and the Unweaving of Europe (London: Vallentine Mitchell, 2008), p. 1. However, Hannibal Travis contests Bloxham's claim of a clear primacy of Muslim victims: it "seems to ignore the massacres of 200,000 to 450,000 Ottoman Christians, including 30,000 Atmenians in the 1900s, 100,000 to 300,000 mostly Armenians in the 1890s, about 15,000 Armenians and Slavs in the 1870s, about 12,000 Maronites in Lebanon around 1860, and about 70,000 Greeks in the 1820s." Travis, personal communication, January 24, 2010. Justin McCarthy's revisionist study, Death and Exile: The Ethnic Cleansing of Ottoman Muslims, 1821—1922 (Princeton, NJ: The Darwin Press, 1995), claims that during the period under con­sideration, "Five and one-half million Muslims died, some of them killed in wars, others perishing as refugees from starvation and disease" (p. 1).

15 Akfam, A Shameful Act, p. 87.

16 The shrinking of the empire meant that the Ottoman realm became more homogeneous, and the minority Christians of the realm (the Armenians, Assyrians, and Ponrian Greeks) stood out more prominently. Wheteas the Ottoman Empire had once been unusually diverse, cosmopolitan, and tolerant, its dissolution spurred those who yearned for an ethnically "pure" Turkish homeland. I am indebted to Benjamin Madley for this point.

17 Stephan Astourian, "The Armenian Genocide: An Interpretation," The History Teacher, 23: 2 (February 1990), p. 123.

18 Balakian, The Burning Tigris, p. 59.

19 Dadrian, The History of the Armenian Genocide, p. 151. Daniel Jonah Goldhagen points out that "the Turks' massive assault upon the Armenians from 1894 to 1896 would rightly be called the Armenian Genocide - had an even more massive mass murder and elimination not followed twenty years later." Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, Worse Than War: Genocide, Eliminationism, and the Ongoing Assault on Humanity (New York: Basic Books, 2009), p. 302.

20 Bloxham, The Great Game of Genocide, p. 55.

21 For analysis of the death-toll, see Dadrian, The History of the Armenian Genocide, pp. 153-57.



22 Melson quoted in Donald E. Miller and Lorna Toutyan Miller, Survivors: An Oral History of the Arme?iian Genocide (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1999), p. 47.

23 Astourian, "The Armenian Genocide," p. 129.

24 Donald Bloxham, personal communication, August 31, 2005.

25 Balakian, The Burning Tigris, p. 164.

26 Gokalp quoted in Akijam, A Shamefid Act, p. 88.

27 Miller and Miller, Survivors, p. 39.

28 For example, Bahaeddin Sakir, who headed the Special Organization in the eastern Ottoman provinces, wrote in February 1915 of the CUP's decision that "the Armenians living in Turkey will be destroyed to the last. The government has been given ample authority. As to the organization of the mass murder, the government will provide the necessary explanations to the governors, and to the atmy commanders. The delegates of [the CUP] in their own regions will be in charge of this task." Cited in Astourian, "The Atmenian Genocide," p. 139.

29 In April 1909, another massacre of Armenians occurred in the city of Adana, with similar killing campaigns occurring "all across Cilicia and around the Gulf of Alexandretta." However, "this time the new revolutionary government decided to act and prosecuted 34 Turks and 6 Armenians for their part in the communal strife." Andrew Bell-Fialkoff, Ethnic Cleansing (New York: St. Martin's Griffin, 1999), p. 150.

30 Matthias Bjornlund, "The 1914 Cleansing of Aegean Greeks as a Case of Violent TuAdficaxionf fournal of Genocide Research, 10: 1 (2008), p. 42.

31 Toynbee quoted in Akjam, A Shameful Act, p. 105.

32 For an interpretation running somewhat counter to the one offered here, see Bloxham, The Great Game of Genocide, pp. 64, 164. Bloxham describes the policy adopted towatds Ottoman Gteeks from 1913 to 1916 as "a combination of population engineering and economic appropriation, using boycotts, murders, terrorization, and then deportation" (The Great Game of Genocide, p. 64). However, he argues that generalized killing of Greeks did not occur until 1921—22, following the Greek invasion and occupation of large parts of Turkey; and then it took place in the context of a "war of extermination" featuring comparably widespread atrocities against civilians by both Greek and Turkish forces.

33 Morgenthau quoted in Akcam, A Shameful Act, p. 111.

34 Morgenthau quoted in ibid., pp. 105-06.

35 Van der Zee quoted in Bjornlund, "The 1914 Cleansing," p. 46.

36 Emanuelidi Efendi quoted in Akcam, A Shameful Act, p. 107.

37 CUP document cited in Kietnan, Blood and Soil, p. 408.

38 Shakir quoted in Ronald Grigor Suny, Looking Toward Ararat: Armenia in Modern History (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1993), p. 112.

39 Henry J. Morgenthau, Murder of a Nation, /wwi-www/ morgenthau/MorgenTC.htm.

40 Michael Mann, The Dark Side of Democracy: Explaining Ethnic Cleansing (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), p. 148.

41 Dadrian, The History of the Armenian Genocide, p. 226.

42 Ibid., pp. 221-22.

43 Morgenthau, Murder of a Nation.

44 "Some regional variations notwithstanding," wrote Taner Akcjam, "the expulsions and massacres proceeded in the same way everywhere and are well documented in American, British and German archival materials, missionary reports, and survivors' accounts. The very persistence of the pattern indicates central planning." Akijam, A Shameful Act, p. 174.

45 Davis quoted in Balakian, The Burning Tigris, p. 234.

46 Norman M. Naimark, Fires of Hatred: Ethnic Cleansing in Twentieth-century Europe (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2001), p. 41.



47 Balakian, The Burning Tigris, pp. 182-83.

48 Morgenthau, Murder of a Nation.

49 Ibid.

50 Miller and Miller, Survivors, p. 110.

51 For an overview of this practice, see Ara Sarafian, "The Absorption of Armenian Women and Children into Muslim Households As a Structural Component of the Armenian Genocide," ch. 9 in Omer Bartov and Phyllis Mack, In God's Name: Genocide and Religion in the Twentieth Century (New Yotk: Berghahn Books, 2001), pp. 209-21.

52 Margaret Ajemian Ahnert, The Knock at the Door: A Journey through the Darkness of the Armenian Genocide (New York: Beaufort Books, 2007). The quoted passages are drawn from pp. 10, 15,88-89,91, 117, 121, 138, 168, 176.

53 Miller and Miller, Survivors, p. 119.

54 Vahakn N. Dadrian, "The Comparative Aspects of the Armenian and Jewish Cases of Genocide: A Sociohistorical Perspective," in Alan S. Rosenbaum, ed., Is the Holocaust Unique? Perspectives on Comparative Genocide (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1998), pp. 127-28.

55 Balakian, The Burning Tigris, p. 320.

56 Ibid., p. 245. David Gaunt likewise contends that the CUP viewed "the Syriac groups in the Ottoman Empire . . . with the same degree of suspicion as they did the Armenians." Gaunt, Massacres, Resistance, Protectors: Muslim—Christian Relations in Eastern Anatolia during World War I (Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias Press, 2006), p. 122.

57 Gaunt, Massacres, Resistance, Protectors, p. 304.

58 Ibid., p. 252 (citing Arthur Beylerian, Pes Grandes Puissances: L'Empire Ottoman, et les Armeniens dans les archives frangaises (1914-1918) [New York: Holmes & Meier Publishers, 1983]), pp. 478-79; Viscount James Bryce and Arnold Joseph Toynbee, The Treatment of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, 1915—1916: Documents Presented to Viscount Grey ofFallodon (ed. Ara Sarafian) (Reading: Taderon Press, 2000), p. 120.

59 Joseph Naayem, Shall This Nation Die? (New York: Chaldean Rescue, 1921), pp. 145-162.

60 Nogales quoted in Travis, Genocide in the Middle East, p. 248.

61 Morgenthau quoted in ibid., p. 257. Emphasis added.

62 Sykes quoted in Lt. Col. Ronald S. Stafford, "Iraq and the Problem of the Assyrians," International Affairs, March 1934, p. 182.

63 Christoph Baumer, The Church of the East: An Illustrated History of Assyrian Christianity (London: LB. Tauris, 2006), p. 263. I am grateful to Hannibal Travis for bringing this source and the preceding one to my attention.

64 Stafford, Iraq and the Problem of the Assyrians, p. 177.

65 Travis, Genocide in the Middle East, p. 256.

66 Quoted in Ibid., p. 207.

67 Horton cited in Ibid., p. 287.

68 See also Nancy Kriz, "Greek Citizenship Bestowed upon 100-year-old Monroe Woman Who Survived the Pontic Greek Genocide," , July 24, 2009, http://www. /~aahgn/news/20090724a.html.

69 Halo, Not Even My Name, pp. 98, 131, 135-36.

70 The image with its original caption appears online at / fstavl /horton/depot tations2_ 1915 .jpg.

71 A British commission investigating the occupation of Smyrna and environs delivered a "verdict on Greek behavior during the offensive of 1921 [that] was damning in the extreme. The commissioners wrote of the. 'burning and looting of Turkish villages' and the explosion of violence of Greeks and Armenians against the Turks . . . : 'There is a systematic plan of destruction and extinction of the Moslem population. This plan is being carried out by Gteek and Armenian hands, which appear to operate under Greek instruction and sometimes even with the assistance of detachments of regular troops.'"



Norman M. Naimark, Fires of Hatred: Ethnic Cleansing in Twentieth-Century Europe (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2001), p. 45.

72 Benjamin Lieberman, Terrible Fate: Ethnic Cleansing in the Making of Modern Europe (Chicago, IL: Ivan R. Dee, 2006), p. 123.

73 Quoted in Travis, Genocide in the Middle East, p. 290.

74 See Speros Vryonis, Jr., The Mechanism of Catastrophe: The Turkish Pogrom of September 6-7, 1955, and the Destruction of the Greek Community of Istanbul (New York: Greekworks, 2007), pp. 16, 565.

75 See Jonathan C. Randal, After Such Knowledge, What Forgiveness? My Encounters with Kurdistan (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1999).

76 Cited in Balakian, The Burning Tigris, p. 328. In a precursor to subsequent Turkish campaigns of genocide denial, Ataturk claimed that the Armenians killed were "victims of foreign intrigues" and guilty of abusing "the privileges granted them."

77 Quoted in Gary Jonathan Bass, Stay the Hand of Vengeance: The Politics of War Crimes Tribunals (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2000), p. 127.

78 British Foreign Office dispatch quoted in Akfam, A Shameful Act, p. 294.

79 Balakian, The Burning Tigris, p. 341. For more on the trials, see Akcam, A Shameful Act, part 3; Vahakn Dadrian, "The Turkish Military Tribunal's Prosecution of the Authors of the Armenian Genocide," Holocaust and Genocide Studies, 11: 1 (1997).

80 Bass, Stay the Hand of Vengeance, p. 136.

81 Lloyd George quoted in Bass, Stay the Hand of Vengeance, p. 144.

82 Balakian, The Burning Tigris, p. 345.

83 See the photo galleries of the (beautiful) battlefield sites at http://adamjones.freeservers. com/turkey03-00.htm. Peter Weir's film, Gallipoli, is a fair depiction of events from the viewpoint of Australian soldiers.

84 Mustafa A§kin, Gallipoli: A Turning Point (Canakkale: Mustafa A§kin, n.d.), p. 40.

85 Bloxham, The Great Game of Genocide, pp. 211, 228. See also Amy Magaro Rubin, "Critics Accuse Turkish Government of Manipulating Scholarship," Chronicle of Higher Education, October 27, 1995.

86 On the Tutkish—Istaeli relationship, see Yair Auron, The Banality of Denial: Israel and the Armenian Genocide (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 2003). See also Robert Melson, "Responses to the Atmenian Genocide: America, the Yishuv, Israel" (review article), Holocaust and Genocide Studies, 20: 1 (2006), pp. 103-111. It should be stressed that some Israeli scholars have persistently pressed the Israeli government to recognize the genocide. Israel Charny and Yehuda Bauer deserve special mention in this respect.

87 The trend began early on. Colby Chester, a retired US admiral, wrote in 1922 in the New York Times Current History: "The Armenians were moved from the inhospitable regions where they were not welcome and could not actually ptosper but to the most delightful and fertile patts of Syria . . . where the climate is as benign as in Florida and California whither New York millionaires journey each year for health and recreation. . . . And all this was done at great expense of money and effort." Quoted in Balakian, The Burning Tigris, p. 376.

88 Peter Balakian, personal communication, September 11, 2005.

89 "French Parliament Recognises 1915 Armenian Genocide," Reuters dispatch, May 29, 1998. However, "the wording of the resolution was deliberately designed to remove any suggestion of the responsibility of the modetn Tutkish state for the genocide; indeed no perpetrator agency of any sort was recalled in the brief statement of recognition." Bloxham, The Great Game of Genocide, p. 224.

90 "Turkey Denounces Armenian Genocide Vote in Commons," CBC News, April 22, 2004 .

91 See Pierre Tristam, "Obama, Turkey and the Armenian Genocide," Pierre's Middle East Issues Blog, Match 18, 2009; "Barack Obama Sidesteps Armenian Genocide Row on Trip to Turkey," The Times, April 6, 2009, http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/ world/eutope/article6045165 .ece.



92 "IAGS: Armenian Genocide Recognition Must Be Starting Point of Histotical Commission, Not One of Its Possible Conclusions," , October 14, 2009, /news/eng/PnkE37827.

93 Gwynne Dyer, "Ending the Debate on an Armenian Genocide," , October 15, 2009, /article-264662/gwynne-dyer-ending-debate-armenian-genocide.

94 Alison Flood, "Pamuk 'Insult to Turkishness' Claims Return to Court," The Guardian, May 15, 2009, http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2009/may/15/pamut-insult-turkishness-court (n.b. "pamut" as given). "Pamuk said in [a] February 2005 interview that '30,000 Kurds and a million Atmenians were killed in these [Turkish] lands and nobody but me dares to talk about it.' He was charged and tried for 'public denigration of Turkish identity' under Article 301 of the penal code later that year, but the case was subsequently dropped in the wake of international outrage. However, ... six people - including the nationalist lawyet Kemal Kerincsiz, who has filed cases in the past against Pamuk and the murdered journalist Hrant Dink, and who is currently detained in the Ergenekon trial - have been given leave to demand 36,000 lira (£15,000) in compensation from the celebrated author .... Eheir case, which claims personal damages arising from the 'insult' to Turkishness, has been rejected twice previously, but. . . the case will now be reassessed." In October 2009, the Turkish Supreme Court of Appeals upheld die ruling, and the case for damages against Pamuk proceeded. No further updates were available at the time of writing (March 2010) (thanks to Jill Mitchell for research assistance with this case).

95 Hratch Tchilingirian, "Hrant Dink and Armenians in Turkey," , February 23, 2007, /democracy-turkey/dink_armenian_ 4378.jsp.

96 Robert Tait, "Writers Risk Backlash with Apology lor Armenian Genocide," The Guardian, December 8, 2008.

97 Tezgul quoted in Balakian, The Burning Tigris, p. 391.

98 Thea Halo, "The Exclusivity of Suffering: When Tribal Concerns Take Precedence over Historical Accuracy," unpublished research paper, 2004.

99 A facsimile of the resolution as passed is available at http://www.greek-genocide. org/iags_resolution.html.

Iraq is at the heart of one of the world's oldest civilizations, but the modern state was cobbled together in 1922 by British mandatory authorities, following the Ottoman empire's collapse. In the 1970s, one of the twentieth century's worst tyrants, Saddam Hussein, gradually seized power as the head of the secular Ba'th Party, and ruled with an iron fist until his overthrow in 2003. The first edition of this book included a case study of one of Saddam's worst atrocities -the 1987-88 "Anfal" campaign against Itaqi Kurds in the country's north. At least 50—100,000 Kurds, perhaps as many as 180,000, were exterminated by bombings, mass shootings, and poison gas attacks.1 Just as Ottoman Armenians had been denounced as vassals of Russian imperialism, Saddam's Sunni Muslim-dominated regime depicted the Kurds as subversives allied with Iran. This case study has been moved to the book's website (see http://www. genocidetext. net/anfal.pdf), and provides another example of the kind of state-directed, insecurity-fuelled eruptions witnessed in the Ottomans' destruction of Christian





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Map 4A. 1 Iraq. While most of rhe violence since 2003 has been concenrrared in the Tigris and Euphrates river valleys, the mountainous zone in the nottheast witnessed Saddam Hussein's 1987-88 Anfal Campaign against Iraqi Kurds. As of 2010, conflicr among Kurds, Arabs, and Turkmen was simmering in the oil-rich region around the city of Kirkuk.

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minorities, the holocaust of Guatemala's Mayans (Box 3a), and too many other historical cases to cite.

Saddam's campaign against the Kurds was renewed at the time of the 1991 Gulf War, and accompanied by mass atrocities against Shia Muslims (notably after the war concluded with Saddam still in power). To his murderous account must be added the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, and even more Iranians -mostly youthful conscripts - killed by Iraq's invasion of a weakened post-revolutionary Iran, and the ensuing carnage of the First Gulf War (1980-88, with well over one million killed on both sides).

Saddam's regime fell before invading US and British forces in March 2003. He fled into hiding, but was captured in 2004; given something of a show-trial by the new Shia-dominated government; found guilty of genocide for the 1982 killing of 148 Shia at Dujail; and hanged on December 30, 2006.2 Mystifying though it seems, however, what has transpired in Iraq since 2003 has probably exacted a greater civilian toll than Saddam's depredations over the entire period of his rule. Most of the casualties occutred in a paroxysm of intetcommunal Shia— Sunni killing between 2005 and 2007. Among the other victims were Iraqi Christians, targeted as such, including descendants of the same Assyrian/ Chaldean communities that suffered so greatly at Ottoman hands.



How many Iraqis were murdered and otherwise died violently in the post-2003 period remains a subject of intense and sometimes vituperative dispute. But a civilian toll in the many hundreds of thousands seems in keeping with the most systematic and consistent data. Indeed, according to those data, by 2007 when the most devastating wave of killing had subsided (at least temporarily), over a million Itaqis had died violently. As Joshua Holland noted at the time, it may well be that "the human toll exceeds the 800,000 to 900,000 believed killed in the Rwandan genocide in 1994, and is approaching the num­ber (1.7 million) who died in Cambodia's infamous 'Killing Fields' during the Khmer Rouge era of the 1970s" (see Chapters 7 and 9).3

How did this happen? How did a supposed attempt to emancipate Iraqis from a dictator's rule descend into a new bloodbath? In substantial part, as already hinted, the answer lies in the bittet animosities built up between Sunni and Shia over the years of Saddam's rule - in particular, the marginalization of Shia, the demographic majority in Iraq, by minority Sunnis (notably Saddam's ttibal clique, centeted on the city of Tikrit). Greatly facilitating a descent into genocide, however, was the infamous absence of planning and preparation for occupation on the part of the US government under President George W. Bush. Within hours of the arrival of foreign forces in Baghdad, the Iraqi capital, the city had descended into chaos, with widespread looting and vigilantism. Moving to exploit the vacuum were Sunni militants, accompanied by terrorists of al-Qaeda, who launched incteasingly devastating attacks on the US and British occupiers, United Nations personnel (including the assassination by truck-bomb of the UN special representative to Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello, in 2003), and mostly Shia civilians.

But Shia, too, had flooded into the power vacuum, exploiting their demo­graphic weight to triumph in the first multiparty elections, in January 2005. With strong support from an unexpected pairing of US occupiers and the Shias' coreligionists in neighboring Iran, they established a stranglehold over key government ministries - in particulat the Interior Ministry and its attached security forces.

As attacks were launched by Saddam loyalists and other terrorist elements within the disaffected Sunni community, the Shia-dominated government responded by organizing a network of death squads, suspiciously similar to the US-sponsored variety in Central America and elsewhere during the 1970s and 1980s.4 The death squads wete composed mostly of police officers (often in uniform), Interior Ministty paramilitaries, and forces led by the Shia "Mahdi army" of hardline cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. In 2005, they were unleashed, and by November of that year The Los Angeles Times was reporting "hundreds of bodies . . . discovered in rivers, garbage dumps, sewage treatment facilities and alongside roads and in desert ravines."5 The UK Independent wrote that "bodies appear every week of men, and sometimes women, executed with their hands tied behind their backs. Some have been grotesquely mutilated with knives and electric drills before their deaths."6



The slaughter set the tone for the reciprocal genocidal carnage that engulfed Iraq in 2006-07. (A reason for the hesitancy of Western commentators to label what resulted as "genocide," apart from the usual timidity when Western regimes bear significant responsibility, was the fact that so much violence was tit-for-tat. But as noted in Chapter 1, neither the UN Genocide Convention definition of genocide, nor my preferred one, requires that one side exercise a monopoly or near-monopoly of violence.)

A turning point was the February 2006 bombing of a Shia shrine in the city of Samarra, apparently by Sunni terrorists. "In the three days after the bombing," wrote The Independents Patrick Cockburn, "some 1,300 people, mostly Sunni, were picked up on the street or dragged from their cars and murdered. . . . The scale of the violence is such that most of it is unreported."7The Washington Post described the "staring faces of the dead: men shot in the mouth, men shot in the head, men covered with blood, men with bindings twisted around their necks."8 In May, Dahr Jamail reported the testimony of a doctor in Baghdad's main morgue:

Yesterday we received 36 bodies from the police pickups. All of them are unknown, without IDs, and we don't have refrigerators to put them in since all of ours are completely full already. So we had to keep them on the ground. 12 of them were handcuffed, most of them received between 2 and 10 bullets, some many more than 10. . . . Most of them are between 20 to 30 years . . . This is the number that was brought directly to us in one day, plus there are the dead who are sent to the hospitals. . . . Since the shrine explosion [in Samarra], deaths have almost doubled. Daily, we receive between 70 to 80 bodies. . . within these 40 minutes that I've talked with you, we received 9 bodies. Nearly every morning the count will be doubled twice this number, for the police find them at night. Most are either found in the streets or killed without sending them to hospitals. Four days ago we received 24 bodies in just 2 hours.9

In October 2006, Peter Beaumont of the UK Guardian reported that "there are so many bodies that their disposal has become a problem of waste man­agement."10 No refuge was safe: by December, The Sunday Times was noting "mounting evidence that Shi'ite death squads are being encouraged to roam hospitals in search of fresh Sunni victims," including Sunni doctors found in the wards.11 Sunni revenge attacks also targeted unknown but substantial numbets of Shia civilians.

On both sides, the overwhelming majority of those murdered were male, making Iraq unquestionably the worst political-military gendercide of the early twenty-first century.12 "Every day there are crowds of women outside weeping, yelling and flailing in grief," a Baghdad morgue worker told the Associated Press. "They're all looking for their dead sons and I don't know how the computer or we will bear up." The same dispatch noted that "the fear of leaving the bereaved



without a corpse to bury is so strong that some Iraqi men now tattoo their names, phone numbers and other identifying information on their upper thighs, despite Islam's strict disapproval against such practices."13

Apart from inflicting revenge, the terror was designed to force whole popu­lations to flee neighborhoods and communities where they had long coexisted peacefully with members of other ethnic groups. Baghdad, in particular, was transformed from a mostly bi-ethnic or multi-ethnic patchwofk to demarcated zones where members of "enemy" groups risked immediate death if they entered. As in Rwanda in 1994, checkpoints - mostly Shia-staffed — were set up across the city to check motorists' and pedestrians' identity cards. Those with "enemy" names were pulled aside and either disappeared or summarily executed. It was this practice above all that prompted Samantha Power, authot of "A Problem from Hell": America and the Age of Genocide (see Figure 1.2, p. 11), to label the killings as genocidal.14

By the end of 2007, the pattern of genocidal "cleansing" among Shias and Sunnis had spent itself. Once mixed neighborhoods were now mini-ethnocracies.15 This seems to have been the major cause of the generally declining death rate from 2007 through to 2009. But it also appeared to spur a new round of murders and expulsions - this time of members of Iraq's ancient Christian communities.16 In his 2010 volume Genocide in the Middle East, Hannibal Travis reported that

hundreds of Christians have been targeted and killed based on such signifiers of "Christian" identity as doing the janitorial or translation work for multi­national forces or civilian contractors, operating convenience stores that sell alcohol, being women appearing in public with their faces or legs uncovered, for wearing fashionable Western haircuts or clothes, or listening to or selling Western music. Assyrian and other Christian children have been beheaded and in one case literally crucified. The leader of the Chaldean church in Turkey has stated that the current situation is worse than ever, with news reaching Istanbul every day of five or six more Chaldeans having been killed in Iraq. Women have suffered disfiguring acid attacks and frequent kidnapping in a climate of fundamentalist resurgence and a breakdown of government institutions. Christian women and girls became "virtual prisoners in their homes," with religious services at a halt and 30 Christian women kidnapped in a month.

"Under international law," Travis concluded, "Christians in Iraq could be suffering from an attempt or conspiracy to commit genocide."17 Tens of thousands of them fled, joining a flow of exiled and internally-displaced Iraqis that had by then swelled to some four million people. This was probably the latgest forced population movement of the new century (though Congo must also be considered - see Box 9a), and was the largest in the Middle East since the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from the nascent state



of Israel in 1947—48.18 Governments and aid agencies of neighboring countries, notably Jordan and Syria, were overwhelmed.19 The refugees began to trickle back in 2008 - partly because violence seemed to be on the wane, and partly because their resources were running out. But though new displacements slowed, they did not entirely stop. At the outset of 2010 the UN High Commissioner for Refugees was still estimating over two million Iraqis internally displaced, living as refugees, or just returned.20

How many had died violently since 2003, and at whose hands? Estimates and interpretations have varied wildly. The lowest civilian death toll announced is the 95-103,000 civilian victims tabulated by the UK organization Iraq Body Count () as of January 2010. The organization acknowledges that its tally does not include the "many deaths that go unreported."21 A survey by the Iraqi Ministry of Health, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, "found 151,000 deaths by violence as of June 2006."22 The most systematic data, however, were those compiled in 2004 and 2006 by researchers from Baltimore's Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and in 2008 by Opinion Research Business (ORB), a leading UK polling organization. Both employed sampling methodologies of the kind used to produce, for example, the similarly shocking but widely accepted figure of 5.7 million "excess deaths" in the Congolese conflict (Box 9a).23 The Johns Hopkins researchers, in their 2004 report, offered the "hugely controversial" figure of 100,000 Iraqis killed as a result of the invasion - many if not most of whom probably died at the hands of US and British invaders.24 But this scarcely compared with the furore surrounding the researchers' 2006 findings, published in the prestigious British medical journal The Lancet. They reported a likely 655,000 excess deaths, overwhelmingly violent ones, to that point - some 500 a day, killing 2.5 percent of the entire Iraqi population. "In Baghdad, almost half of those interviewed reported at least one violent death in their household."25 Fully 91 percent of those killed were males, the vast majority between the ages of 15 and 44.26 How many could reasonably be classed as civilians, killed by both Allied forces and fellow Iraqis, will never be known. This author would be surprised if it wete not a substantial majority, though those less willing to grant full civilian status to "battle-age" males might disagree (see Chapters 13 and 16).

The US and British governments predictably attacked the findings. So too did some scientists, though arguably without full knowledge of the sutvey methodology.27 Aftet a Fteedom of Information request was filed in Btitain, it was learned that Sir Roy Anderson, the Defence Ministry's chief scientific adviset, had described the Lancet study as "robust" and "employing] methods that are regarded as close to 'best practice.'" A Department for International Development statistician in Great Britain also considered the methodology "tried and tested"; in fact, he suggested, it "should lead to an underestimation of the deaths in the war and early post-invasion period."28

The Johns Hopkins data wete bolsteted in 2008, when Opinion Research



Business (ORB) reported the results of its "face-to-face interviews" with 2,144 Iraqis in 15 out of the country's 18 provinces. According to ORB, "approximately 1.03 million people had died as a result of the war"; "20 percent of people [interviewed] had had at least one death in their household as a result of the conflict, rather than natural causes." Moreover, the three provinces not surveyed "included two of Iraq's more volatile regions - Kerbala and Anbar."2977;f Los Angeles Times reported that "48% of the victims were shot to death and 20% died as a result of car bombs, with other explosions and military bombardments blamed for most of the other fatalities."30

By early 2010, under the new Barack Obama administration, US forces were exiting Iraq, with many headed to the battleground of Afghanistan. As they did, violence was again on the increase, including devastating car-bombings by resurgent Sunni militias. In a worrying replay of the events of 2005-07, attacks were tecorded "by men wearing Iraqi Army uniforms," "reviving] the specter of the death squads" and "stirring concern at the highest levels of the Iraqi and American commands."31 Looming as a fresh flashpoint was the long-simmering region around the city of Kirkuk, contested by Kurds, Turkmen, and Arabs. It seemed quite likely, therefore, that the decline in violence at decade's end marked an interregnum rather than an endpoint.


Gilbert Burnham, Riyadh Lafta, Shannon Doocy, and Les Roberts, "Mortality after the 2003 Invasion of Iraq: A Cross-sectional Cluster Sample Survey." The Lancet, October 11, 2006, /pdf/lancetlll 006.pdf.

The Human Cost of the War in Lraq: A Mortality Study, 2002—2006. Bloomberg School of Public Health, 2006, http://web.mit.edu/CIS/pdf/Human_Cost_ of_War.pdf.


1 The most detailed account in English of the Anfal genocide is Human Rights Watch-Middle East, Lraq's Crime of Genocide: The Anfal Campaign Against the Kurds (New Haven, CT: Human Rights Watch/Yale University Press, 1995). On the current forensic investigations into the Anfal genocide, see Heather Pringle, "Witness to Genocide," Archaeology, 61:1 (January-February 2009), http://www. /0901/etc/iraq. html; and Asso Ahmed, "Kurds in Search of Their Dead Meet Remains," The Los Angeles Times, November 30, 2008. See also Figure 11.3, p. 438.

2 See Michael J. Kelly, "The Anfal Trial against Saddam Hussein," Journal of Genocide Research, 9: 2 (2007), pp. 235^42. The title of Kelly's article is deliberately ironic: the Anfal-related charges against Saddam were dropped after his execution (rather than his execution being postponed until he could face them, or the trial



continuing posthumously). However, his cousin and henchman, Ali Hassan al-Majid ("Chemical Ali"), responsible for the gas attacks on Halabja and other Kurdish targets in 1988, was tried and, in June 2007, found guilty of genocide (as well as wat crimes and crimes against humanity). He received thtee furthet death sentences for atrocities under Saddam, before finally being hanged in January 2010.

3 Joshua Holland, "Iraq Death Toll Rivals Rwanda Genocide, Cambodian Killing Fields," AlteiNet.otg, Septembet 17, 2007, http://www.alternet.otg/waroniraq/ 62728.

4 How significant a role the US played in organizing and training these death squads, which after all were ostensibly aimed at elements targeting US forces, remains unclear. For some limited insights, see Christopher Dickey, "Death-Squad Democracy," Newsweek, January 11, 2005, /id/47999; and Elizabeth DiNovella, "Salvador Option Surfaces Again," The Progressive, March 16, 2007, / blogressive/031507/amaya. Senior US offi­cials at least maintained a respectful silence concerning the death squads' manifest links to the Iraqi government.

5 Solomon Moore, "Killings Linked to Shiite Squads in Iraqi Police Force," The Los Angeles Times, November 29, 2005. "The Death Squads," an up-close and stomach-churning documentary produced by Britain's Channel 4, can be searched on Google Videos ().

6 Kim Sengupta, "Raid on Torture Dungeon Exposes Iraq's Secret War," The Independent, November 16, 2005. See also Kim Sengupta, "The Dirty War: Torture and Mutilation Used on Iraqi 'Insurgents,'" The Independent, November 20, 2005; Dexter Filkins, "Sunnis Accuse Iraqi Military of Kidnappings and Slayings," The New York Times, November 29, 2005; Solomon Moore, "Killings Linked to Shiite Squads in Itaqi Police Force," The Los Angeles Times, November 29, 2005.

7 Pattick Cockburn, "Death Squads on the Prowl in a Nation Paralysed by Fear," The Independent, March 20, 2006, dependent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/death-squads-on-the-prowl-in-a-nation-paralysed-by-fear-470650.html.

8 Ellen Knickmeyer and Bassam Sebti, "Iraq's Deadly Surge Claims 1,300," The Washington Post (on ), February 27, 2006, http://www.msnbc.msn. com/ id/11597322.

9 Dahr Jamail, '"Reason for Their Death Is Known,'" , May 3, 2006, /article/dahr-jamail-reason-their-death-is-known.

10 Petet Beaumont, "Aura of Fear and Death Stalks Iraq," The Guardian, October 12, 2006, http://www.guatdian.co.uk/world/2006/oct/12/iraq.peterbeautnont.

11 Hala Jaber, "Death Squads Roam Baghdad's Hospitals," The Sunday Times, December 3, 2006, http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/article658326. ece. See also Chtistian Betthelsen, "Iraqis Turn to Tattoos as Indelible IDs," The Los Angeles Times, April 20, 2007.

12 Gendercidal killings of women for alleged transgressions of Islamic morality were also reported, particularly in the southetn city of Basra at the hands of "Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice" squads set up by the Shia authorities controlling the city. See Yifat Susskind, "Who Is Killing the Women of Basta?," , January 10, 2008, /archive/ 2008/01/10/6287. "City officials reported on December 31 [2007] that 133 women were killed and mutilated last year, their bodies dumped in trash bins with notes warning others against 'violating Islamic teachings. . .' But ambulance drivers who are hired to troll the city streets in the early mornings to collect the bodies confirm what most residents believe: the actual numbers are much higher. The killers' leaflets ate not very original. They usually accuse the women of being



prostitutes or adulterers. But. . . most of the women who have been mutdered 'are PhD holders, professionals, activists, and office workers.' Their crime is not 'promiscuity,' but rather opposition to the transformation of Iraq into an Islamist state. That bloody transition has been the main political ttend undet US occu­pation." Thanks to Peter Prontzos for this source.

13 "Baghdad's Morgues Working Overtime," Associated Press dispatch on , November 12, 2006, /id/15690725. See also Hala Jabar, "The Accursed: Widows of Iraq's Torn-Apart Society," The Sunday Times, April 29, 2007, http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/wotld/ iraq/ atticle 1719913.ece.

14 Power's comments were made at a talk on "Iraq's Collateral Damage" that I attended at Yale University on November 14, 2006. She was quoted around the same time as stating that "with Shi'ite and Sunni sub-groups already identifying and killing victims solely on the basis of theit religious identity, 'genocidal intent' is already present in Iraq" (Time, November 29, 2006, cited in Travis, Genocide in the Middle East, p. 534).

15 "The streets [of Baghdad] are calmer now. The fighting between Shiites and Sunnis has largely ceased. But this is not a sign of normalcy in the Iraqi capital. It's fear that keeps the peace. Only an estimated 16 percent of the mainly Sunni families forced by Shiite militiamen and death squads to flee theit homes have dared to teturn. It takes two sides to have a fight, and there's really only one side left in Baghdad aftet violence and fear turned parts of neighborhoods into ghost towns." Hamza Hendawi, "It's Fear That Keeps Baghdad's Peace," Associated Press dispatch on Yahoo! News, March 25, 2009.

16 See Preti Taneja, "Assimilation, Exodus, Eradication: Iraq's Minority Communities since 2003" (London: Minority Rights Group International, 2007), http://www. chtistians /Full_Report.pdf.

17 Eravis, Genocide in the Middle East, p. 537. In October 2008, Germany's Der Spiegel described the persecution of the Christian population of Mosul in the north of the country, apparently at the hands of Sunni militants: "Churches have been set on fire, and priests, doctors, engineers and businesspeople have been murdered. In March [2008], aides found the body of Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho on the outskirts of the city. A new series of killings that began in late September has already claimed 18 lives. To stop the Christians who are fleeing Mosul, their persecutors set up fake checkpoints along the roads leading out of the city. They are often robbed, beaten and even killed. In the Sadik neighborhood, masked men tecently stopped a man with his child. When they saw a Christian name on his identification card, they shot the man on the spot. When the boy said the man they had just killed was his father, they shot him as well. Chutch members who have not yet fled are finding flyers in theit apartments with a 'Warning to all Christians.' 'If you do not leave,' the flyers read, 'you will be slaughtered in three days.' These are not empty threats." Peter Wensierski and Bernhard Zand, "Christians on the Run in Iraq," Der Spiegel Online, October 30, 2008, http://www.spiegel.de/international/ world/0,1518,587345,00.html. See also Deborah Haynes, '"We Are Killed Because We Are Christians,'" The Times, October 27, 2008, http://www.timesonline.co.uk/ tol/news/ world/iraq/article5021028.ece; "Pope Condemns Christian Killings in Iraq, India," Associated Ptess dispatch on , Octobet 26, 2008.

18 Sudarsan Raghavan, "War in Iraq Propelling a Massive Migration," The Washington Post, February 4, 2007; Patrick Cockburn, "Iraqis Abandon Their Homes in Middle East's New Refugee Exodus," The Independent, January 29, 2007, dependent.co. uk/news/world/middle-east/itaqis-abandon-their-hornes-in-middle-easts-new-t efugee-exodus-434561 .html.



19 "UN Warns of Iraq Refugee Disaster," BBC Online, February 7, 2007, http://news. bbc. co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/6339835.stm.

20 "2010 UNHCR Country Operations Profile - Iraq," /cgi-bin/ texis/vtx/page?page=49e486426.

21 Hatoon Siddiqui, "How Many Civilians Have Died?," The Star (Toronto), September 20, 2007.

22 John Tirman, "Right-Wingers Can't Cover Up Iraq's Death Toll Catastrophe," , January 21, 2008, /waroniraq/74263.

23 Jon Wiener, "Iraq: Counting the Dead," The Nation, January 17, 2007, www. /blogs/notion/158133.

24 Sarah Boseley, "'655,000 Iraqis Killed Since Invasion,'" The Guardian, October 11, 2006, http://www.guardian.co.Uk/world/2006/oct/l 1/iraq.iraq.

25 Holland, "Iraq Death Toll."

26 Boseley, "655,000 Itaqis Killed."

27 Sarah Boseley, "UK Scientists Attack Lancet Study over Death Toll," The Guardian, October 24, 2006, http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,,1930002, OO.html. "Sean Gourley and Professor Neil Johnson of the physics department ac Oxford University and Professor Michael Spagat of the Economics Department of Royal Holloway, Univetsity of London, claimed the methodology of the study was fundamentally flawed by what they term 'main street bias' [i.e., focusing their sample on households situated along main streets, which were more likely to be targeted in bombings and other attacks]. But the lead author of the study [Gilbert Burnham] . . . said the researchers penetrated much further into tesidential areas than was clear from the Lancet paper. The notion 'that we avoided back alleys was totally untrue.' He added that 28% of households were in rural areas - which matches the population spread." The controversy has at least served as a fine primer on these increasingly prominent survey techniques and methodologies.

28 Anderson quoted in Owen Bennett Jones, "Lancet Was Right - Shock," New Statesman, April 2, 2007, /society/2007/04/itaq-death-toll-lancet-survey. Emphasis added.

29 "Iraq Conflict Has Killed a Million Iraqis: Survey," Reuters dispatch, January 30, 2008. Emphasis added. "The margin of error in the survey, conducted in August and September 2007, was 1.7 percent, giving a range of deaths of 946,258 to 1.12 million."

30 Tina Susman, "Poll: Civilian Death Toll in Iraq May Top 1 Million," The Los Angeles Times, September 14, 2007. See also John Tirman, "Iraq's Shocking Human Toll," The Nation , February 2, 2009, http://www.altemet. org/story/123818.

31 Marc Santota, "In Iraq, 2 Attacks Raise Feats of Sectarianism," The New York Times, November 25, 2009, /2009/ll/26/world/middle east/26iraq. html. It was of course questionable whether those "at the highest levels" in Iraq were truly "concerned," or rather active patticipants in the killing.


Stalin and Mao

Enemies are not people. We're allowed to do what we like with them. People indeed!

Soviet secret police intertogatot to Eugenia Ginzburg, in Journey into the Whirlwind

"No other state in history," wrote genocide scholar Richard Rubenstein, "has ever initiated policies designed to eliminate so many of its own citizens as has the Soviet Union."1 His contention can be challenged. In absolute numbers, the death toll inflicted on the Chinese people by Mao Zedong's communists was significantly greater than the Soviet one. And per capita, Cambodia's Khmer Rouge government (see Chapter 7) devised policies that destroyed fully one-quarter of the country's population in less than four years. A striking feature of these cases is the links among them. Mao's communists were in many ways Stalin's proteges; the Sino-Soviet split of the late 1950s, which irretrievably sundered the world communist movement, reflected Mao's conviction that the Soviets had betrayed Stalin's great legacy. The Khmer Rouge, in turn, took its inspiration from both Stalinism and Maoism, but particularly from the latter's ultra-collectivism and utopianism.

The version of communism instituted in these three regimes was in central respects a perversion of the original doctrine, developed by Karl Marx and others in the nineteenth century. "Marxism" defines society and historical evolution in terms of social classes, inevitably unequal and opposed, and therefore destined for "class struggle." It posits that when the proletariat - the urban working classes created by modern capitalism - finally takes control of the commanding heights of the economy and political structure, the state will wither away, and a world without hierarchy will come into being, in which humans work according to their ability, and receive



according to their need. This endpoint is distant and hazy in Marxist doctrine, how­ever. And the twentieth-century movements that proclaimed themselves "Marxist" generally proved consummate statists and hierarchs. In Stalin's Soviet Union, com­munist China, and Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge, all those outside the party faithful (and eventually many of the faithful too) were labeled "enemies," denounced, humiliated, and destroyed. Moreover, notions of incremental advance toward communism were replaced by a hubristic conviction that paradise was just around the corner — if only the population could be induced to haul the state and economy toward it. Given that all three countries were predominantly agricultural, massive "collectivization" of the rural population was used to yoke them to their revolutionary task, and to support the headlong drive for urbanization and industrialization that figured so prominently in the Soviet and Chinese models.

The result, in all three cases, was ideological extremism and human destruction on a scale that beggars belief. Much of that destruction took the form of outfight murder. But most victims were killed indirectly, through incarceration and forced labor, or manipulated famines. The famines were not planned as such, but they were the predictable result of regime policies, exacerbated by leaders' conscious refusal to intervene and ameliorate them. In that sense, genocidal intent may be discerned in both the direct and indirect forms of killing. And while in all three cases the majority of victims were drawn from the same ethnonational group as the perpetrators, a more "orthodox" genocidal targeting of ethnic minorities also featured. This chapter explores the Stalinist and Maoist cases with, as noted, the Khmer Rouge genocide examined separately in Chapter 7.



The Bolshevik Revolution took place after centuries of dictatorship and underdevel­opment in Russia, as well as the most destructive war to that point in European history (see Chapter 2). By 1917, Russian armies facing German and Austro-Hungarian forces had been pushed to the brink of collapse, and the Russian population confronted famine. Bread riots broke out in the capital, Petrograd (St. Petersburg). In the face of growing popular and elite opposition, Tsar Nicholas II abdicated, turning over power to a liberal-dominated provisional government under Alexander Kerensky. Fatefully, Kerensky's regime chose to continue the war. Russian forces crumbled in a poorly conceived military offensive. Hundreds of thousands of soldiers deserted. Across Russia's fertile regions, spontaneous seizures of land added to the chaos.

Poised to exploit the turmoil was Lenin's Bolshevik party. Lenin was a Russian of noble birth who had discovered Marxist socialism and agitated from exile for the overthrow of the tsarist regime. Spirited back to Russia on a sealed train by the German government, which saw Lenin (presciently) as a means of removing Russia from the war, Lenin and the Bolsheviks found themselves in a minority position vis­a-vis the leading socialist faction, the Mensheviks. Lenin improved Bolshevik fortunes



by promising "Bread, Peace, Land." But the party was still a marginal force, almost non-existent outside the major cities, when Lenin launched a coup against the weak Kerensky regime.

After storming Petrograd's Winter Palace and seizing key infrastructure, the Bolsheviks found themselves in power — but with many ptedicting that their regime would last only weeks or months. To bolster their position and popular base, they quickly sued for peace with Germany and, in the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk (March 1918), gave up some of Russia's most fertile, resource-rich territories.

"There can be no revolution without counterrevolution," wrote historian Arno Mayer.2 A potent counterrevolution now confronted the new "Soviet Union" (the "soviets" were workers' councils taken over by the Bolsheviks as a means of controlling Russia's working classes). "Whites" - anti-Bolshevist Russians - sought to overthrow the Bolshevik "Reds." Russia's former allies, notably Britain and the United States, were furious at Lenin's retreat from the First World War, and terrified at the prospect of socialist revolution spreading across Europe. With funding, arms, and tens of thousands of troops on the ground, they backed the Whites in a three-year struggle with the Bolshevik regime.

This civil war, one of the most destructive of the twentieth century, lasted until 1921 and claimed an estimated nine million lives on all sides. According to historian Alec Nove, " [its] influence ... on the whole course of subsequent history, and on Stalinism, cannot possibly be overestimated. It was during the civil war that Stalin and men like Stalin emerged as leaders, while others became accustomed to harshness, cruelty, terror."3 Red forces imposed "War Communism," an economic policy that repealed peasants' land seizures, forcibly stripped the countryside of grain to feed city dwellers, and suppressed private commerce. All who opposed these policies were "enemies of the people." "This is the hour of truth," Lenin wrote in mid-1918. "It is of supreme importance that we encourage and make use of the energy of mass terror directed against the counterrevolutionaries."4 The Cheka, the first incarnation of the Soviet secret police (later the NKVD and finally the KGB), responded with gusto. Lenin and other Bolshevik leaders may have viewed mass terror as a short-term measure,5 but its widesptead use belies claims that it was Stalin's invention.

The civil war left the Reds victorious but the Soviet Union shattered. Famine had struck large areas of the country, and millions in rural areas were kept alive only through foreign, especially US, generosity.6 Acknowledging reality - a capacity not yet extinguished among Bolsheviks - Lenin repealed the War Communism measures. He allowed peasants to return to the land, and instituted the so-called New Economic Policy (NEP). Under the NEP, market mechanisms were revived, and the economy was regenerated.

Weakened by an assassination attempt and a series of strokes, Lenin died in 1924, leaving the field open for an up-and-coming Bolshevik leader to launch his drive for absolute power.

Joseph Stalin was born Joseph Dzhugashvili in Gori, Georgia, in 1879. His Caucasian background, his abusive upbringing, and the years he spent in Russian Orthodox seminaries have all been linked to his personality and subsequent policies: "There has been too much cod-psychology about Stalin's childhood," cautioned Simon Sebag Montefiote in his Stalin biography, "but this much is certain: raised in



a poor priest-ridden household, he was damaged by violence, insecurity and suspicion but inspired by the local ttaditions of religious dogmatism, blood-feuding and romantic brigandry."' In the pre-revolutionary period, the brigand led a series of bank robberies that brought him to the attention of high officials. It was at this time that Dzhugashvili adopted his patty moniker, Stalin, meaning "Man of Steel." Captured by tsarist authorities, he endured two spells of exile in Siberia.

After the Bolsheviks seized power, Stalin was appointed General Secretary of the Communist Party in 1922. In itself, the post was an administrative one. But Stalin used it to build a power base and establish control over the party bureaucracy, while also earning a reputation as "a dynamic leader who had a hand in nearly all the principal discussions on politics, military strategy, economics, security and inter­national relations."8 When Lenin died in 1924, a struggle for supremacy pitted Stalin against his nemesis, Leon Trotsky, and a host of lesser figures. Stalin's victory was slow and hard-won, but by 1927 he and his allies had succeeded in expelling Trotsky from the party and, in 1929, from the country.9

By 1928, Stalin was entrenched as supreme Soviet leader. With world revolution a distant prospect, Stalin chose the course of "socialism in one country," which for him meant "a new programme of extremely — almost hysterically — rapid industrializa­tion."10 In this decision lay the seeds of two principal genocidal policies: the massive expansion of the Gulag, or prison, system, and the campaign against the peasantry, whose grain was needed to feed cities swelled by Stalin's crash industrialization program.

The two strategies intersected. By waging class warfare in the countryside, Stalin could expropriate the holdings of the wealthier (or less poor) peasants; conscript millions of them into forced labor on industrial projects; and also use the new bounty of prisoners to extract natural resources (especially gold and timber) that could be sold abroad for the hard currency needed to purchase industrial machinery and pay foreign advisors.


Whatever their rhetorical claims to represent working people, the Soviet attitude towatd peasants was one of thinly disguised contempt. "On the one hand they were the People incarnate, the soul of the countty, suffering, patient, the hope of the future," wrote Robert Conquest, a leading historian of the Stalinist era. "On the other, they appeared as the 'dark people,' backward, mulish, deaf to argument, an oafish impediment to all progress."11

Of this group, it was the so-called "kulaks" who aroused the greatest Bolshevik hatred. The definition of "kulak" (the word means "fist," as in "tightfisted") was subject to terrifyingly random variations, and remained "abstract, unclear, and con­tested" throughout the life of the Stalinist regime.12 In general, at least at the outset of the campaign, the kulaks were better-off peasants, perhaps only slightly better-off. Owning a cow or hiring a helper could be enough to get one labeled a kulak, with consequences that were often fatal, even in the earliest phase of Bolshevik rule. Lenin, for example, referred to kulaks as "avaricious, bloated, and bestial,"



spiders," "leeches," "vampires," and "the most brutal, callous, and savage exploiters."13 "Merciless mass terror against the kulaks. . . . Death to them!" Lenin pronounced, before death took him as well.14

As was his habit, Stalin carried things to extremes. The definition of "kulak" grew ever more expansive: "As the state entered into what would be a protracted war with the peasantry," wrote historian Lynne Viola, "the kulak came to serve as a political metaphor and pejotative for the entire peasantry."15 In January 1930, Stalin formally "approved the liquidation of kulaks as a class."16 Bolshevik leader Mendel Khataevich then insttucted Communist Party functionaries to "throw your bourgeois human-itarianism out the window" and "beat down the kulak agent wherever he raises his head. It's war - it's them or us. The last decayed remnant of capitalist farming must be wiped out at any cost."17

In a taste of the quota-fueled terror that would prevail later in the decade, Orlando Figes noted that "in some villages the peasants chose the 'kulaks' from theit own number. They simply held a village meeting and decided who should go as a 'kulak' (isolated farmers, widows and old people were particularly vulnerable)."18 "At least 10 million 'kulaks' were expelled from their homes and villages between 1929 and 1932." About 1A million were dispatched to the Gulag concentration-camp system (see next section) or attached forced-labor camps. The conditions under which they were transported frequently killed them before they arrived, including months spent "in primitive detention camps, whete children and the elderly died like flies in the appalling conditions."19 As for the "special settlements" themselves, they were generally established in remote and inhospitable northern regions - part of the regime's designs to open up the mineral- and timbei-rich north, to which free laborers could not readily be lured. Virtually no preparations were made for their arrival, leading to mortality fates (15 percent in the Northern Territory of Siberia in 1930 alone)20 that can be considered as genocide implemented through intentional negligence and wilful disregard for subsistence needs. Working conditions, especially in the timber camps, were themselves genocidal, as Viola wrote:

The commandants and work bosses in charge of the special settlers viewed them as little more than a "muscle force" to be exploited mercilessly in order to fulfill the plan. In their minds, the kulak workforce was infinitely replenishable as a result of both the exile of entite families — [known as] labor reproductive units — and the continuing deportation of peasants through the first half of the 1930s. According to an official in the Northern Territory [of Siberia], "there was practically a directive that the sooner the special settlers die, the better."21

After the "kulaks" were destroyed or banished, the regime's agents scoured the newly collectivized countryside for grain to feed the cities. Often the tax imposed on peasants exceeded the amount that could be harvested. The result was widespread famine, not only in Ukraine, but in the Volga region, Kazakhstan, and other terri­tories afflicted by the twin evils of forced collectivization and gtain seizures. Stalin and his associates cared little. In their minds, famine was the price of progress and national security; the Soviet Union would "develop," and buttress itself against a hostile world. Moreover, just as the British architects of nineteenth-century Irish and Indian famines




Figure 5.1 "Enemies of the Five Year Plan." The plan imposed collectivization on the Soviet countryside, with genocidal consequences. "This poster from 1929 attacks eight groups that wete frequently scapegoated [in the USSR] (clockwise from top left): landlotds, kulaks, journalisrs, capitalists, White Russians [supporters of rhe former rsarist tegime], Mensheviks [factional opponents of the Bolsheviks], priesrs, and drunkards. ... The poem at the bottom of the postet was written by Demyan Bedny, one of Stalin's favorite poets. The poem harshly ridicules these members of the 'old order,' describing them as 'hounds that have not yet been caged.' The group is condemned for 'declaring war' on the Five-Year Plan because 'they understand that it will bring abour rheir final destfuction.'"

Source: Gareth Jones collection (); artwork by Viktor Deni; caption text from Hoover Digest, 1998: 3 (/publications/digest/3532831.html).

had stockpiled and exported food throughout the crises (see Chapter 2), so did Stalin's Soviet Union. "While millions of peasants were dying of hunger," wrote Nicholas Werth, "the Soviet government was exporting 1,800,000 tons of cereals to honour its debts to Germany and to buy foreign machinery intended to make possible the accelerated industrialization plans. In that year of 1933, the state's sttategic reserves, held in case of war, exceeded three million tons - a quantity more than sufficient to save millions of the starving populations."22

Then, as the crisis escalated, it appears that Stalin and his henchmen seized the opportunity to wieak havoc on Ukrainian nationalism, embedded as it was in peasant culture and society. Most scholars now reject Robert Conquest's initial assertion that Stalin planned the famine to this end.23 But pre-planning is hardly necessary for a finding of genocide, and the results of intentional actions that aggra­vated the famine — the seizure of crops, seed grain, and livestock — were no less devastating than if they had been meticulously plotted in advance.24 As collectiviza­tion spread, "a veritable crescendo of terror by hunger" descended on Ukraine and



Kazakhstan.25 "A former activist" in Ukraine described the consequences, particularly for the most vulnerable:

The most terrifying sights were the little children with skeleton limbs dangling from balloon-like abdomens. Starvation had wiped every trace of youth from their faces, turning them into tortured gargoyles; only in their eyes still lingered the reminder of childhood. Everywhere we found men and women lying prone, their faces and bellies bloated, their eyes utterly expressionless.26

The massive mortality was covered up by, among othet measures, systematically expunging data from village records. In April 1934, for instance, secret instructions were issued to the Odessa region in Ukraine "to withdtaw death registration books from village councils: for 1933 from all village councils without exception and for 1932 according to the list provided ... To transfer the withdrawn village council registration books to the raion [district] executive committees for safekeeping as classified material."27 For decades, it was possible to refer to the famine only with euphemisms like "food difficulties."

A credible estimate of excess deaths in the famine, across all regions of the USSR from 1930 to 1933, is 5.7 million29 - approximately the number of European Jews killed by the Nazis, including those murdered indirectly by starvation and disease. Perhaps 3.9 million perished from unnatural causes in Ukraine between 1926 and 1937, mostly duting what succeeding generations of Ukrainians have come to know as the Holodomor, or "hunger-extermination."30 The overwhelmingly majority wete ethnic Ukrainians, and for those who allow for notions of cultural genocide, the gut­ting of Ukrainian society's integrity and identity in the decades following the Holodomor could serve as a prime example. The lives of perhaps 1,450,000 Kazakhs were extinguished duting the same period — almost unnoticed, then or since. Proportional to their population, this marks the Kazakhs as the national group that "suffered the most consequences of the 'revolution from above' in the rural sector."31

Figure 5.2 "Passers-by no longer pay attention to the cotpses of starved peasants on a stteet" in Kharkov, Ukraine, during Stalin's "terror-famine" of 1932-33.28

Source: Famine in the Soviet Ukraine 1932-1933: A Memorial Exhibition, Widener Library, Harvard University/Wikimedia Commons.




As noted, hundreds of thousands of the "kulaks" deported during the collectivization drive were deposited in the Gulag prison system (the term "Gulag" was an acronym for administrative use). They joined other class enemies in a vast slave-labor network that had swelled to 2.4 million inmates by 193632 (see Map 5.1). Much of their labor was diverted to hate-brained schemes such as the White Sea Canal, which claimed tens of thousands of lives but fell into near-disuse after its completion.33 In general, they were concenttated in climatically extreme environments, virtually devoid of infrastructure, which free workers shunned. Typical was the fate of "scores of thousands of prisoners, almost entirely peasants . . . thrown ashore at Magadan [in Siberia] in an ill-considered crash programme to exploit the newly discovered gold seams in the area." Conquest wrote that "whole camps perished to a man, even including guards and guard dogs"; "not more than one in fifty of the prisoners, if that, survived" their first year of incarceration in the remote tegion.34

It was these Siberian camps, devoted either to gold-mining ot timber harvesting, that inflicted the greatest toll in the Gulag system. Such camps "can only be described as extermination centres," according to Leo Kuper.35 The camp network that came to symbolize the horrors of the Gulag was centered on the Kolyma gold-fields, where "outside work for prisoners was compulsory until the temperature reached —50C and the death rate among minets in the goldfields was estimated at about 30 per cent per annum."36Apart from death by starvation, disease, accidents, and overwork, NKVD execution squads pronounced death sentences on a whim. In just one camp, Serpantinka, "more prisoners were executed ... in the one year 1938, than the total executions throughout the Russian Empire for the whole of the last century of Tsarist rule."3' The number of victims claimed by the Kolyma camps was between a quartet


Map 5.1 A Russian map of the Gulag labor-camp system prepared by Memorial, a citizens' organization that wotks to document the crimes of the former USSR (see also Chaprer 14, pp. 509-11). The map shows the reach of rhe Gulag "across the length and breadth of the Soviet Union, from rhe islands of rhe White Sea to the shores of the Black Sea, from the Arctic Circle to the plains of central Asia, from Murmansk to Vorkuta to Kazakhstan, from central Moscow to the Leningrad [St. Petersburg] suburbs." The major network in rhe northeast includes the Kolyma gold fields in Siberia, where some of rhe most murderous camps were located.

Source: Memo rial/www. .


of a million and over a million; in the today lightly populated region, "skeletons in frozen, shallow mass graves far outnumber the living."38 Other names engraved on Russians' historical memory include Norilsk, "the centre of a group of camps more deadly than Kolyma"; and Vorkuta, with a regime characterized by "extravagant cold," "exhaustion," and a "starvation diet."39

Were the imprisoned multitudes in the Soviet Union meant to die? Can we speak of genocidal intent in that sense? The answer may vary according to location and historical-political context. The deaths in the northern camps of the Arctic Circle appear to have exhibited a high degree of genocidal intent, both specific and general (see pp. 37-39). The predominantly peasant and political prisoners were regularly depicted as subhuman or (in the case of "politicals") the most dangerous of enemies. At best, they were viewed as fodder for the mines and quarries and frozen forests. Since the most dangerous conditions imaginable wete inflicted, tolerated, and perpetuated; since life expectancy in the camps was often measured in weeks and months; and since almost no measures were proposed or successfully introduced to keep prisoners alive, theit fate seems no less genocidal than that of the American Indians worked and starved to death in the Spanish silver mines (Chapter 3).

However, unlike the Spanish mines or the Nazi death camps, conditions varied significantly across the vast Gulag system (apart from the worst of the war years, when privation reigned all across the USSR). Outside the Arctic camps, work regimes were less harsh and death rates far lower. Here, indeed - and even in Siberia after 1938-39 - high mortality rates could be viewed as undermining socialist production. While work regimes in the Nazi death camps wete specifically designed to inflict mass murder, the intended function of the Soviet camps was primarily political and economic (though the Gulag never turned a profit). Camp commanders who impeded these functions by imposing an overly destructive regime could be sanctioned, even dismissed. Finally, at no point did the Soviets institute a "selection" process analogous to the Nazi ritual of dispatching older or weaker prisoners (along with children and pregnant women) for immediate slaughter. In fact, Soviet practice differed sharply.40


I am shot! - lightly clad. They judged me;

The dull, featureless gun barrels carried out the sentence.

Anatoly Potyekin

In 1934, the "kulaks" - at least, those who had survived incarceration in the Gulag — were joined by "terrorists," "saboteurs," and "provocateurs" arrested by the hundreds of thousands after the assassination of Leningrad Party chief Sergei Kirov. The Kirov murder "laid the foundation for a random terror without even the pretence of a rule of law."41 Stalin used it as a launching pad for the great purge of 1937-38, in which 1,575,000 people were arrested, 1,345,000 sentenced, and at least 681,000 executed ("more than 85 percent of all the death sentences handed down during the entire Stalinist period").42



It is the purge of the Communist Party that many view as the zenith of Stalinist terror. However, as the Gulag's chronicler, Anne Applebaum, pointed out, this is misleading. Millions had already died - in famines, while undergoing deportation, in exile, and in camps - before Stalin turned against the "Old Bolsheviks" and their alleged legions of co-conspirators. The apex of the Gulag system actually came much later, after the Second World War. Moreover, as historians Orlando Figes and Lynne Viola have both noted, the largest category of victims in 1937—38 was not the communist elite, but "kulaks" in the "second dekulakization campaign" known as "mass operation 00447." Hundteds of thousands had fled the "special settlements," and Stalin regarded them with fear as a potential fifth column. The remaining "kulaks" were, Stalin declared in July 1937, "the primary ringleaders of all sorts of anti-Soviet and diversionary crimes both in the collective farms and the state farms and in ttansport and other branches of industry." By this time, accotding to Viola, "the appellation of kulak had lost any residual socioeconomic meaning . . . retaining only a political content that could be molded according to regime needs. National minorities like Poles, depicted as spies and subversives, were also highly vulnerable.

In its way, though, the purge of the Communist Party displays better than any other event Stalin's ruthless megalomania and intense paranoia. The campaign began with moves against the "Right opposition," led by Nikolai Bukharin, which had questioned the crash-collectivization and crash-industrialization campaigns, and was now calling for a return to the New Economic Policy and reconciliation with the shattered peasantry. Three separate "show trials" targeted the opposition between 1936 and 1938, in which Bukharin and others were accused of conspiring with Trotskyite and foreign elements to sabotage communism in the Soviet Union. The evidence presented was almost non-existent, with convictions based on absurd confessions extracted through torture, threats against family members, and (bizarrely) appeals to revolutionary solidarity.44

The old guard was convicted almost en bloc, and usually sentenced to execution. "Of the 139 Central Committee membets elected at the Seventeenth Party Congtess in 1934, 102 were arrested and shot, and five more killed themselves in 1937-38."45 The military, too, was ravaged: "of the 767 members of the high command ... 412 were executed, 29 died in prison, 3 committed suicide, and 59 remained in jail."46 This would have catastrophic consequences in the early stages of the Nazi-Soviet war of 1941-45, when the USSR's poorly-trained atmies were vanquished and nearly annihilated by the Getman army.

Everyone who confessed named names (and more names, and still more names). Investigations and arrests snowballed; detention centers and execution lists were filled by quota.47 Meanwhile, the prevailing paranoia meant that sabotage lurked around every corner, in every seemingly innocuous situation. According to the Soviet dissident Alexander Solzhenitsyn, "any adult inhabitant of this country, from a collective farmer up to a member of the Politburo, always knew that it would take only one careless word or gestute and he would fly off irrevocably into the abyss."48 "Most of us didn't live in any teal sense," wrote Nadezhda Mandelstam (eventually consigned to the Gulag) in her autobiography, Hope Against Hope. Instead, tens of millions of Soviet citizens "existed from day to day, waiting anxiously for something



until the time came to die. ... In the yeats of the terror, thete was not a home in the country whete people did not sit trembling at night, their ears straining to catch the murmur of passing cars or the sound of the elevatot."49

Like careerists and genocidaires everywhere, NKVD officials and others in "the exterminating profession" were anxious to match, and if possible exceed, their commanders' expectations. If "enemies of the people" could not be found in sufficient numbers, individuals - overwhelmingly adult men - were rounded up, shot, or convicted under Article 58 and shipped off to the Gulag.50

The Great Purge ended only when it became clear that "at the rate arrests were going, practically all the utban population would have been implicated within a few months."51 As usual, Stalin's undetlings took the fall. The NKVD was purged, and its leader, Nikolai Yezhov, arrested and executed.52 Stalin went on to preside over the eighteenth Party Congress in March 1939, proclaiming the accomplishments of the purge. Only 35 of the neatly 2,000 delegates who had attended the previous Party Congress were still around to celebrate with him.53


The 1939 Soviet invasion of Poland, following the signing of a non-aggression pact with Nazi Germany, brought with it atrocities that are still relatively little known. The exception is the mass murder, on Stalin's orders, of 20,000 Polish officers who were then buried in the Katyn fotest.54 This was only a small part of a wider Soviet campaign against the Polish nation. Apart from military officers, the campaign concentrated on destroying political leaders, professionals, intellectuals, and busi-nesspeople. The war against the Uktainian people was thus paralleled in Poland, and subsequently in the Baltic states, which the Soviets invaded and occupied in 1940.

The "eliticidal" character of the Soviets' Baltic campaign is conveyed by a list of those officially designated for arrest and deportation from Lithuania. According to Applebaum, the tatgets included members of "political parties; former members of the police or the ptison service; important capitalists and bourgeoisie; former officers of the national armies; family members of all of the above; anyone repatriated from Germany; refugees from 'former Poland'; as well as thieves and prostitutes." However, this was not sufficient for one Soviet commissar, who added (in his words): "Esperantists [those speaking the 'universal language' of Esperanto]; philatelists; those working with the Red Cross; refugees; smugglers; those expelled from the Communist Party; priests and active members of religious congregations; the nobility, landowners, wealthy merchants, bankers, industrialists, hotel and restaurant owners."55




One of the millions of foreign victims of Stalinist terror was Janusz Bardach, a Jew whose family hailed from Odessa in Russia, but who grew to maturity in the Polish town of Wlodzimierz-Wolynski. There, Bardach experienced some of the dis­crimination meted out to Jews in Poland. (It would explode into murderous frenzy during the Nazi occupation, when many Poles eagerly helped the Nazis in their genocide against Jews.)56 "In school I sensed that my classmates didn't truly accept me; I felt I was a stranger among them. Some called me names and made me feel that I couldn't live happily among Poles because I was Jewish. "57 But the family held fast amidst the anti-Jewish racism, which included commercial boycotts and harassment by government bureaucrats.

When the Nazis invaded Poland in September 1939, Bardach was dealt a "stinging reminder" of his outsider status: the Polish army declined Jews' offers to help defend the nation. Bardach joined the flight of military-age males to the east of the country. Having imbibed socialist influences in his adolescence, he was happy to encounter Soviet troops storming into eastern Poland (they were occupying the eastern half of the country, as agreed in the previous month's Nazi-Soviet pact). Bardach was convinced the Soviets would protect Jews like him from Nazi depredations: "I believed that the Soviet Union was a paradise for the oppressed, ruled by workers and peasants, and that the Red Army was the enforcer of social justice. I couldn't imagine them as my enemies." His joy only increased when he learned that his home town of Wlodzimierz-Wolynski would be just inside the Soviet occupation zone.

Bardach's faith in the Soviet revolution began to waver when he was forced to serve as a civilian witness accompanying a unit of the NKVD, the Soviet secret police, on a night-time raid of local homes. His brother, Jurek, was caught in the dragnet and badly beaten during interrogation; so when, in summer 1940, the Red Army announced a military draft of men of Bardach's age, he was dismayed, and sought to flunk the medical. But he was pronounced fit. He chose the tank corps, since it offered a term of four years' service instead of the usual five.

In June 1941, the Germans broke the Nazi-Soviet pact and invaded eastern Poland and the USSR. Bardach's thoughts turned to his family on the front lines. He himself was soon in mortal danger, however. Exhausted, with Soviet forces in headlong retreat, Bardach lost concentration at the helm of his T-34 tank. While traversing a river, he inadvertently left a hatch open, and the tank capsized.

For this, Bardach was sentenced to death. "I sat with my face in my hand, stunned by how quickly and easily the death sentence was pronounced." Then, nearly miraculously, an NKVD officer recognized his surname - the officer had grown up next to the Bardachs in Odessa! Bardach's sentence was commuted to ten years' hard labor.



He was sent to a way-station, Burepolom, in northwest Russia. En route, in a crowded and unsanitary cattle-car, he socialized with the urkas- the common criminals, with their own distinctive subculture. Most Gulag memoirs by Soviet intellectuals express a horror of the urkas. Many inmates reported savage treatment at their hands. But Bardach somehow established a rapport that lasted through his incarceration, and made of the urkas his allies, sometimes his friends.

The urkas told him about his ultimate destination, Kolyma. "There, it was said, the guards shot prisoners for sport or sent them to work without coats or boots and placed bets on how long it would take them to freeze to death." Bardach was terrified. "I had never done hard physical work, and the thought of spending ten years at it was terrifying ... I had little chance of surviving."

At Burepolom, Bardach was set to tree-felling. "Starvation was routine," he recounted. "We weren't given enough food to sustain us throughout one day of hard work, let alone weeks and months. ... At times I felt I could eat anything. . . . Gradually I learned that anything I could chew - even a leaf or fresh twig - gave the illusion of eating."

Bardach was then launched on an epic journey across the length of the Soviet Union, by railway car and "slave ship," to Kolyma - the harshest outpost of the Gulag. On arrival, he was "assigned to clear a new area of boulders, stones, roots, and shrubs." He learned crucial survival skills, especially the fine art of faking work by "creatjing] the illusion of activity" and thereby marshaling his energy. Still, "the oppressive work regimen was a form of torture in itself. Sometimes I thought hacking the cement-hard soil with a wrought-iron crowbar was unbearable. I felt the limits of my endurance approaching ... I still wanted to live, but I thought about injuring myself as so many other prisoners had done, hoping to win several days in the hospital, to be assigned to a lighter job, to be transferred to another camp."

The work proceeded even in the intense cold of the coldest populated region on the planet. "Touching a metal tool with a bare hand could tear off the skin, and going to the bathroom was extremely dangerous. A bout of diarrhea could land you in the snow forever." Disease was rife amid the hard labor, minimal nutrition, and squalid living conditions. Bardach came down with scurvy, and was sent to the hospital zone. There, another semi-miracle occurred. After successfully inflating his medical credentials (he had a year of medical training in prewar Poland), Bardach was granted a post as an orderly. He was released after the war, and returned home - only to discover that virtually his entire family had perished at Nazi hands.



Tens of thousands of people were executed, and hundreds of thousands mote con­signed to the Gulag, which now expanded to include camps in occupied territories.58 When the Nazi-Soviet Pact collapsed and Getmany invaded Soviet-occupied Poland in June 1941, fresh catastrophe descended. Forced into retreat, NKVD killing squads massacred many of those whom they had imprisoned on Polish territory. Legions of others were deported on foot, in scenes "hauntingly similar to the marches under­taken by the prisoners of the Nazi concentration camps four years later"59 (see Chapter 6).

The tide turned in 1943, with the Soviet victories at Stalingtad and Kursk. By 1944, the Soviets were reinvading Poland and pushing into German territory in East Prussia. Some of the destruction wreaked upon German civilians by vengeful Soviet soldiers is discussed in Box 6a on "The Nazis' Other Victims." Notable here is the Gulag's expansion into Getmany and othet invaded lands (Romania, Bulgaria). In Germany, the so-called spetslagerya were sometimes established in former Nazi con­centration camps. Again, Soviet policy aimed to undetmine any national resistance to Soviet occupation. Inmates wete predominantly "judges, lawyers, entrepreneurs, businessmen, doctors and journalists." Of the 240,000 incarcerated, over one-third - 95,000 people - perished in the spetslagerya, while camps in Romania were more deadly still.60 In addition, as many as 760,000 Japanese prisoners were captured during the few days that the two countries were at war in August 1945, and dis­patched to the Gulag, where tens of thousands died, ptedominantly during the 1945-46 winter.61 The camp system in fact reached its apogee in 1950, well after the Second World War had ended.

Finally, in one of modern history's most tragic ironies, repattiated Soviet prisoners-of-war (Box 6a) were arrested en masse in the USSR on suspicion of collaboration with the Gentians. Most wete sentenced to long terms in the Gulag, with hundreds of thousands consigned to mine utanium for the Soviet atomic bomb. "Few survived the experience."62 As Solzhenitsyn noted: "In Russian captivity, as in German captivity, the wotst lot of all was reserved for the Russians."63


As already mentioned, Soviet belligerence toward any ethnic nationalism but the Russian produced a genocidal famine in Ukraine, whose people were the most powerful and resource-rich of those inclined toward autonomy or independence.6** Both before and during the Second World War, suspicion of national minorities as potential "fifth columnists" led to their deportation from regions deemed vulnerable to foreign attack and occupation. Though the wartime deportations are reasonably widely known, historian Alexander Statiev has shown that the trend actually began several years before the outbreak of the conflict. The first to suffer were tens of thou­sands of Germans, Poles, Finns, and Iranians, among others. Subsequent measures included "the resettlement of all 171,781 Koreans . . . from the Far East to Central Asia in October 1937," which "initiated the deportations of entire ethnic groups."65 They joined the kulaks in the catastrophic conditions of the "special settlements." The onset of the Second World War in 1939-40, and the Soviet occupation of the



Baltic states and eastern Poland, "triggered another series of deportations," of national elements deemed hostile and subversive. "About 400,000 Poles were exiled in 1940-41 . . . while 133,138 Germans were repatriated from Moldavia alone. In addition, in May and June 1941, the government banished 85,716 'socially dangerous elements,' mostly membets of the titular majorities of the western republics."66

The shocking mortality rates among many of the prewar deportees means, according to Statiev, that when the Soviets initiated new rounds of deportations during the war, they "must have understood that in wartime their capacity to . . . [provide for] the accommodation and supply of exiles would be even more limited, which would result in far greater privations for the blacklisted minorities." Implicit here is a case for genocidal intent — constructive or general intent, rather than a specific and explicit exterminatory desire - in what followed, and indeed in much that had preceded it.67

After the German invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, Soviets of ethnic German origin in the Volga region, numbering well over a million, were a predictable target. Again depicted as potential saboteurs and subversives, some 1.2 million people were rounded up and deported from territories they had inhabited for centuries.68 The Nazi offensive in the Caucasus and Crimea in 1942 spelled doom for a host of minorities there and in Soviet Central Asia. Accused of collaborating with the German invader, polyglot groups were rounded up by the NKVD and expelled from their homelands — generally under terrible conditions — and to desolate territoties where agriculture was difficult and infrastructure nonexistent. "The seven peoples deported during the wat wete: Balkars, Chechens, Crimean Tatars,69 Ingushi, Karachai, Kalmyks, and Meskhetians." 0 With the translocation went a systematic assault on the foundations of these minorities' cultures:

For the first time, Stalin had decided to eliminate not just members of particular, suspect nationalities, or categories of political "enemies," but entire nations - men, women, children, grandparents. . . . After they had gone, the names of all of the deported peoples were eliminated from official documents — even from the Great Soviet Encyclopaedia. The authotities wiped their homelands off the map, abolish­ing the Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Republic, the Volga-German Autonomous Republic, the Kabardino-Balkar Autonomous Republic, and the Karachai Autonomous Province. The Crimean Autonomous Republic was also liquidated, and Crimea simply became another Soviet province.71

The devastation of the Chechen nation was only one of many such atrocities, but it had especially fateful consequences. The Chechen genocide — Applebaum estimates that 78,000 Chechens died on ttansport ttains alone72 - tesonates to the present day. The fierce Chechen struggle for independence in the 1990s and 2000s reflects memories of the genocide during the Second World War. The response of the post-Soviet Russian government was a new round of genocide, with tens of thousands of Chechens killed and hundreds of thousands more displaced as refugees (Box 5a).73 In the final months of his life, Stalin directed his paranoid zeal against a minority that so far had largely escaped targeting as such: Soviet Jews. Those arrested in the so-called "Doctors' Plot" in Januaty 1953 were mostly Jewish, and it seemed the



Figure 5.4 A Russian woman brandishes a placard wirh a portrait of Joseph Stalin at a May 1st demonstration in Moscow, Russia, in 2007. Many Russians who survived Stalin's dictatorship remember it as a time of economic development, national unity, and patriotic pride. They yearn for the teturn of a "strong hand" amidsr the social dislocation of the post-communist petiod.

Sourer: Yuri Kocherkov/EPA/Corbis.

arrests might presage a repeat of the Great Purge. But in March, the dictator died. Rapidly, a "thaw" spread through Soviet life. Over the following decade, the vast majority of Gulag prisonets were released, the "camp-industrial complex" was shut down, and many of the dead and still living were officially rehabilitated. Limited criticism was permitted of Stalin and the cult of personality, "the most grandiose in histoty,"74 that surrounded him.

The thaw after Stalin's death peaked with his eventual successor, Nikita Khrushchev. A Ukrainian who had helped to consign millions of his fellow Ukrainians to death or the Gulag, Khrushchev nonetheless allowed something of the truth of life in the camps to be published for the first time, with Alexander Solzhenitsyn's 1961 novella One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. But in 1964, Khrushchev was ousted for his failed brinkmanship during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and his disastrous agricultural policies. A new chill descended. When Solzhenitsyn completed his three-volume study of The Gulag Archipelago, he could publish it only abtoad; and though the work won its author the Nobel Prize for litetature, it led to his house arrest and forced exile. Only with a new and deeper thaw undet Mikhail Gotbachev did a genuine reckoning with the Stalinist and Gulag legacies begin — although post-Soviet citizens have proven notably reluctant to revisit this aspect of the national past (see Chapter 14, pp. 508-11).


The ravages of Stalinism in the USSR wete, if anything, outdone by the twentieth century's other leading Stalinist, Mao Zedong. Political scientist R.J. Rummei has estimated over thirty-five million people killed under Mao's rule, from 1949 through Mao's death in 1976. The carnage occurred, Rummei contended,



for the same reason it occurred in the Soviet Union ... In each case, Power was nearly absolute, the central tenets of Marxism the bible, high communist officials its ptiests, the Communist Party its church, and the achievement of the Marxist heaven - communism - the ultimate goal. In each country, the same classes -bourgeoisie, priests, landlords, the rich, and officers and officials of the previous regime - were sinful, enemies of the Good. Capitalists or theit offspring were especially evil. The verdict for such class membership was often death.75

Like the Soviet Bolsheviks, the Chinese Communist Party began as a reaction to centuries of despotic rule. Like the Bolsheviks, most of the early Chinese communist leaders were well educated, generally prosperous individuals moved by the plight of the masses. Unlike the Bolsheviks, however, the Chinese communists recognized early on that the heart of China's revolutionary potential lay in the peasantry, the large majority of the population, rather than in the tiny urban proletatiat, as Marxist ortho­doxy dictated. In stark contrast to the Bolsheviks' seizure of power in St. Petersburg, which was essentially a coup by a marginal political force, in China the communists seized power after decades of patient mobilization and expansion in the countryside. Throughout, they were hounded - at times almost to extinction - by their opponents, notably Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalist Patty (Guomindang, or KMT). This perse­cution, for which there is no real parallel in the Soviet case, spawned a mentality of paranoia and vengeful hatred toward all "class enemies."

In 1925, Chiang Kai-shek's forces inflicted a devastating massacre on CCP ranks - a moment that genocide scholar Ben Kiernan describes as a "watershed." Thereafter, as Haifeng regional party secretary Peng Pai declared, "We have to shift from sorrow to power. We are mad for merciless extermination of the enemy: we thirst for the last drop of the enemy's blood as compensation for our martyred comrades. . . . From now on we . . . must exterminate our enemy to the last."76 When the communists retook Haifeng, they announced a "Workers-Peasants' Dictatorship" whose primary purpose was "the extermination of anti-revolutionaries": "All persons aiding the enemy and all reactionaries, such as corrupt officials, greedy bureaucrats, bully landowners, evil gentry, spies, propagandists, policemen, Peace Preservation corps-men, messengers and tax collectors for the enemy, and all those who work in their offices must be seized and executed."77

When Chiang's Nationalists destroyed an abortive communist "commune" in Guangdong in 1927, Mao rose to the forefront of the movement. The killings initiated under his regime were initially selective, mostly tatgeting landlords whom peasants denounced as particularly brutal and exploitative. Both violence and land seizures were de-emphasized during the 1937-45 war against the Japanese, when the Communist Party formed a fragile common fro6nt with the Nationalists against the invader (see Chaptet 3). Following the Japanese defeat, however, the Communists and Nationalists turned to their final confrontation, and extremism increased on both sides. By this time, the communists had established a state-within-a-state in Henan province. There, Mao fine-tuned the pattern of denunciation, public humiliation, and often murder of "spies" and "class enemies" that would become his regime's hallmark after 1949. "Bad landlords," in particular, were exposed to indiscriminate violence - and as with Stalin's targeting of so-called "kulaks," such a designation could



be terrifyingly random. It was often filled by quota (10 percent of the population was an accepted norm), and often based on grudges and personal rivalries in the local community. "Those designated as targets were made to stand facing large crowds," which would "shout slogans while brandishing fists and farm tools. Village militants and thugs would then inflict physical abuse, which could range from making the victims kneel on broken tiles on their bare knees, to hanging them up by their wrists or feet, or beating them, sometimes to death, often with farm implements."78 There was little danger that the functionaries organizing such proceedings would be pun­ished. Indeed, they were encouraged to excel in their infliction of violence. "Without using the greatest force," Mao wrote in an essay titled "The Question of'Going Too Far,"' "the peasants cannot possibly overthrow the deep-rooted authority of the landlords ... To put it bluntly, it is necessary to create terror for a while in every rural area, or otherwise it would be impossible to suppress the activities of the counter­revolutionaries in the counttyside or overthrow the authority of the gentry."79

According to Mao biographers Jung Chang and Jon Halliday, "Hundreds ot thousands, possibly as many as a million, were killed or driven to suicide" during this period of communist expansion.80 Yet it was only a foretaste of the terror that would sweep the countryside when the communists, having crushed Chiang's KMT and sent it into exile on Taiwan, declared a "People's Republic" on August 1, 1949. "China has stood up," Mao declared; now all enemies would be brought low. A radical land teform program was instituted at breakneck speed, and the main tatgets were again to be the Chinese equivalent of the kulaks - not just landlords, but any peasant accused of owning marginally more than his or her neighbor. As with Soviet collectivization under Stalin in 1929-30, large-scale resistance resulted as the communists pushed their "reform" program into the Chinese hintetland. According to political scientist Benjamin Valentino,

In some regions, communist officials were assassinated and large-scale riots and armed rebellions erupted. CCP cadres were dispatched to the villages with orders to identify landlords and othet village "exploiters" and confiscate virtually all of their land, animals, and personal possessions. In an effort to incite "class struggle," landlords were dragged in front of village meetings where cadres encouraged poor peasants to "speak bitterness" against them. The meetings often culminated in brutal beatings or executions.81

Presaging the Khmer Rouge's genocidal campaigns in Cambodia, this first post-1949 phase of Maoist repression also targeted "urban elites (especially the capitalists, the westernized intellectuals and the Christians), and even more the former Guomindang cadres, civilian as well as military, down to the lowest ranks."82 Mao himself acknowledged that 800,000 people had been executed between 1949 and 1954,83 while Valentino estimated that "between one million and four million people were probably killed" during roughly these years.84 Many of them perished in the lao-gai (labot camps). At least 2.5 million "class enemies" were dispatched to the camps in this first period of national tule, and conditions there were no less murderous than in the Soviet Gulag which had served as their model. "To be sent to lao-gai meant being condemned to backbreaking labor in the most hostile



wastelands and down the most contaminating mines, while being hectored and harassed incessantly."85 Throughout Mao's reign, and especially in the 1960s, the camps accounted for a majority of those killed by the regime. Chang and Halliday estimate that "the number of people in detention in any one year under Mao has been calculated at roughly 10 million. It is reasonable to assume that on avetage 10 percent of these were executed or died of other causes."86


Xinjiang Autonomous Region



V. S <;


Tibet Autonomous Region


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- His,



YUNNAN . .. „ •

Map 5.2 Chinese Tibet (the Tibet Autonomous Region), showing also the contours of historic Tibet and of significant Tibetan population today (especially in Qinghai). The plateau of Buddhist Tibetans, traditionally herders ruled over by a small religious-political elite, has been penetrated by Chinese roads and railways, and inundated by Han Chinese military and civilian personnel. Allegations of physical genocide against Tibetans center mosrly on the period during rhe lare 1950s and early 1960s, when Tibet was arguably the region hardest hit by the disastrous "Great Leap Forward," and when Tibetans were heavily overrepresented in often lethal slave-labor camps. Advocates of a concept of "cultural genocide" cite Tibet as a paradigmatic example.

Source: Wikimedia Commons.

In exploring Chinese policies toward Tibet, we must distinguish between two versions of Tibet that are often confused. Ethnic Tibet - the area in which self-identified Tibetans reside - covers more or less the area of the Tibetan plateau.87 But it also includes the areas of Amdo and Kham (often referred to as "eastern Tibet"). These were traditionally controlled by warlords more beholden to the Han Chinese center



than to the Tibetan authorities in central Tibet - with its capital at Lhasa, home to the supreme religious authority, the Dalai Lama. "Tibet" today is generally held -except by Tibetans - to refer to the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) declared by China in 1965. This constitutes barely half the territory of ethnic Tibet, while the more populous territories of "Outer Tibet" (including Amdo and Kham) are mostly divided between the Chinese provinces of Sichuan and Qinghai. Although home to about half of all ethnic Tibetans, these provinces are populated by a Han Chinese majority, and the demographic disparity is increasing.88

Historically, Tibet was the product of empire-building, and for 300 years (600-900 CE) was one of the most powerful states in Asia. Although Tibet's Buddhist lamas were pressured into a tribute relationship with the Mongol and Manchu emperors of China from the thirteenth to the twentieth century, not until 1911 was Tibet declared part of the Chinese state. The Nationalist regime that made the declaration could never enforce it, and from 1911 to 1950, "the Tibetan Government exercised internal and external freedom, which clearly demonstrated the country's inde­pendence."89

To justify their 1950 invasion, the communist Chinese government depicted pre­occupation Tibet as "a hell on earth ravaged by feudal exploitation," with rapacious monks oppressing impoverished peasants.90 The true picture was more complex. Tibet was authoritarian, with a powerful monastic class that exacted high taxes from the laboring population. Supporters of Tibetan nationalism acknowledge that "traditional Tibetan society - like most of its Asian contemporaries - was backward and badly in need of reforms." But there was no hereditary rule. The supreme authority, the Dalai Lama, was chosen from the ordinary population as the reincarnation of his predecessor - an egalitarian strategy mirroring the upward mobility that life as a monk could provide. In addition, the system was not truly feudal: peasants "had a legal identity, often with documents stating their rights, and also had access to courts of law," including "the right to sue their masters."91 Peasant holdings appear to have provided adequate subsistence, with crop failures and other agricultural emergencies offset by state reserves.

During the Nationalist era, as noted above, Tibet was claimed but not administered by China. That changed in 1949-50, after Mao's Communist Party took power in Beijing. With rationales that ranged from bringing civilization to the natives, to the need to counter moves by American "hegemonists," the Chinese invaded and partially occupied Tibet in October 1950. "Tibet's frantic appeals for help to the United Nations, India, Britain, and the United States were ignored, or rebuffed with diplomatic evasions. No nation was about to challenge the new People's Republic of China, which had some ten million men under arms, over the fate of an obscure mountain kingdom lost in the Himalayas."92The logistical difficulty of doing so would also have been nightmarish.



In May 1951, China imposed a punitive 17-Point Agreement on Tibet. It guaranteed Tibetan political, religious, and educational rights, but allowed the People's Liberation Army (PLA) to enter the territory, and gave the Chinese control over Tibetan foreign affairs.93 The Chinese also enjoyed a free hand in the eastern Tibetan territories. They used it to impose communist measures such as collectivization of agriculture. Rebellion against the measures gradually swelled among the Tibetans of the east. The Chinese responded with greater violence, killing thousands of Tibetans and incarcerating tens of thousands under brutal conditions.

When rebellion reached central Tibet, in 1959, it sparked a general uprising that the Chinese rapidly suppressed. The Dalai Lama fled across the border into India, where he still resides in Dharamsala, presiding over a 20,000-strong Tibetan exile com­munity.94 The Chinese government then extended their regime of "struggle" against supposedly reactionary elements to Tibet. Communist cadres denounced, tortured, and frequently executed "enemies of the people." "These struggle sessions resulted in more than 92,000 deaths" out of a total Tibetan population of about six million people.95 The killings may be seen as part of a genocidal strategy against Tibetans as a whole, but also as an "eliticide," targeting the better-educated and leadership-oriented elements among the Tibetan population.

After the 1959 uprising, a catastrophic toll was inflicted by the forced-labor camps of Qinghai and Sichuan, which swept up hundreds of thousands of Tibetans.96 They were set to work extracting Tibet's minerals and building Chinese military infra­structure, especially roads and railways. Toiling at high, frozen altitudes and with minimal food rations, tens of thousands of Tibetans died in the first half of the 1960s, in conditions that rivaled the Soviet Gulag. According to Jean-Louis Margolin,

it appears that very few people (perhaps as few as 2 percent) ever returned alive from the 166 known camps, most of which were [established] in Tibet or the neighboring provinces. Entire monastic communities were sent to the coal mines. Detention conditions on the whole appear to have been dreadful, with hunger, cold, or extreme heat the daily lot of the prisoners. There are as many tales of execution of prisoners refusing to renounce Tibetan independence as there are tales of cannibalism in prison during the Great Leap Forward. It was as though the entire population of Tibet. . . were suspects.97

The second Chinese campaign to devastate Tibet occurred during the "Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution," unleashed in 1966. Tibet was seen as a hotbed of "reaction" and "feudalism," and persecution and cultural destruction occurred there on a vast scale. "In the process, thousands of monks were slaughtered."98

Mao died in 1976, and the extremist phase of the Chinese revolution passed with him. The 1980s were marked by an opening up to the West which launched a remarkable transformation of China's economy and society, which continues today.



Figure 5,5 The 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, attending the Hind Swaraj International Centenary Conference in Delhi, November 2009. The Dalai Lama has become the face of Tibetan nationalism and a leading exponent of Buddhism and nonviolence. The Tibetan government-in-exile which he leads has pursued an accommodationist line toward rhe Chinese government, rejecring violence while seeking autonomy within China, lather than full independence.

Source: Pankaj .

This opening has been characterized by something of a softening of China's policies toward Tibetan national and cultural rights." However, with increasing Han Chinese migration, Tibetans have become a minority in their capital of Lhasa - a trend only exacerbated in the 2000s by the opening of a new railway from central China to the Tibetan heartland.100 Renewed ideological campaigns, such as the "Strike Hard" and "Spiritual Civilization" initiatives, have been aimed at the so-called "Dalai Clique" - notably representatives of the Tibetan religious institutions that have revived since the Cultural Revolution. Hundreds of monks and nuns have been arrested, and thousands more expelled from their institutions. Finally, "in a massive campaign that recalls the socialist engineering of an earlier era, the Chinese government has relocated some 250,000 Tibetans - nearly one-tenth of the population - from scattered rural hamlets to new 'socialist villages' . . . The broader aim seems to be remaking Tibet - a region with its own culture, language, and religious traditions -in order to have firmer political control over its population."101

Tibetan resistance continued beneath the surface, occasionally erupting in open revolt. In March 1989 there occurred "the largest anti-Chinese demonstration in



[Lhasa] since 1959."102 It was met by crackdowns, mass roundups, and torture. Renewed protests in 2008 led to the deaths of dozens of demonstrators (and Tibetan vigilante attacks on Han Chinese). The repression prompted the Dalai Lama to accuse China of imposing a "rule of terror" in the territory, adding: "Whether intentionally or unintentionally, some cultural genocide is taking place .... [An] ancient nation with ancient cultural heritage is actually dying."103 He deployed similar language in March 2010, accusing the Chinese government of seeking to "deliberately annihilate Buddhism."104

Overall, perhaps hundreds of thousands of Tibetans likely have died at Chinese hands since 1950, mostly in the decade following the 1959 invasion. The Tibetan government-in-exile estimates 1.2 million deaths, but Margolin calculated a death-toll "as high as 800,000 - a scale of population loss comparable to that in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge" (see Chapter 7).105

As early as 1960, the International Commission of Jurists declared that there existed "a prima facie case that on the part of the Chinese, there has been an attempt to destroy the national, ethnical, racial and religious group of Tibetans by killing members of the group and causing serious bodily harm to members of the group. . . . These acts constitute the crime of genocide under the Genocide Convention of the United Nations of 1948."106 Since then, supporters of Tibetan self-determination have frequently deployed a genocide discourse. For example, in 1998 Maura Moynihan of Refugees International argued that Tibet suffered "a grimly familiar, twentieth-century, state-sponsored genocide."107 Such claims are hotly disputed by the Chinese government and its supporters.

Meanwhile, Tibet's government-in-exile has proposed realistic and moderate responses to Chinese occupation. A five-point plan that the Dalai Lama presented in a 1987 speech to the US Congress included the following:

1. Transformation of the whole of Tibet into a zone of peace.

2. Abandonment of China's population transfer policy which threatens the very existence of the Tibetan people.

3. Respect for the Tibetan people's fundamental human rights and democratic freedoms.

4. Restoration and protection of Tibet's natural environment and the abandonment of China's use of Tibet for the production of nuclear weapons and dumping of nuclear waste.

5. Commencement of earnest negotiations on the future status of Tibet and of relations between the Tibetan and Chinese people.108

The Dalai Lama has made it clear that Tibetans are willing to accept autonomy within China, rather than full independence. Such an arrangement seems remote, however, given China's ambitions for Tibet, and its growing military and colonizing presence.109



Gargantuan death tolls left Mao and most of his associates unfazed. Conscious that he was overlord of the most populous country on earth, confronting a superpower (the United States) armed with nuclear weapons, Mao was notorious for blase state­ments that anticipated and accepted almost unimaginable hecatombs of dead in pursuit of political goals. "We are prepared to sacrifice 300 million Chinese for the victory of the world revolution," he declared on a visit to Moscow in 1957,110 and in May 1958 he told the 8th Party Congress: "Don't make a fuss about a world war. At most, people die . . . Half the population wiped out - this happened quite a few times in Chinese history . . . It's best if half the population is left, next best one third."111

This world view, blended with Mao's desire to project China as the rightful leader of world communism, led to the greatest disaster of the Maoist period - the "Great Leap Forward" in 1958-61. The "Great Leap" was supposed to accomplish for China what Stalin had sought in the Soviet Union: to collectivize all agriculture and industrialize a peasant nation in short order. Stalin, at monumental human cost, achieved his goal. The Chinese "Leap," however, was an unmitigated economic and human disaster. "Mao proceeded by simply asserting that there was going to be an enotmous increase in the harvest, and got the provincial chiefs to proclaim that their area would produce an astronomical output." When the harvest arrived, the chiefs, fearing for their jobs and probably their lives, duly "declare[d] that their areas had indeed produced fantastic crops."112 The "surpluses" were a cruel fiction. But as under Stalin, they served as the basis fot grain seizures that provoked mass famine - the worst in China's famine-plagued history, and according to Matgolin, "probably the worst in the history of the world."113 The famine claimed the lives of "an estimated 40 million people" in just three years;114 Chang and Halliday report that in 1960 alone, no fewer than "22 million people died of hunger."115 In a macabre touch, as

Figure 5.6 Mao Zedong (right) was an acolyte of Joseph Stalin. While Stalin was alive, the relationship between the world's two leading communist leaders was strong, as depicted in this Soviet propaganda poster. After the Soviet Union's "destalinization" process, Mao denounced the Soviets as "revisionists," and sought to take ovet leadership of rhe global communist movement — ambitions which contributed to the "Grear Leap Forward" and mass famine of 1959-62.

Source: Wikimedia Commons.



the British had done throughout the Irish and Indian famines of the nineteenth century and as Stalin decreed during the 1930s, food was actually exported on a massive scale during the famine:

Net grain exports, principally to the USSR, rose from 2.7 million tons in 1958 to 4.2 million in 1959, andin 1960 fell only to the 1958 level. In 1961, 5.8 million tons were actually imported, up from 66,000 in 1960, but this was still too little to feed the starving. Aid from the United States was refused for political reasons. The rest of the world, which could have responded easily, remained ignorant of the scale of the catastrophe.116

The arrangement apparently struck even the Soviets as perverse. In 1961, they offered "to suspend the repayment of the loans and to furnish emergency food deliveries." Mao, however, rejected the offer.117

The final paroxysm of Maoist violence was the "Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution" of 1966-76 (peaking, it seems, in 1968). This equivalent of the Stalinist purges was designed to "cleanse the class ranks" of remaining classical influences and counterrevolutionary elements. It produced some of the notorious images of suspects clad in dunce caps and paraded for public humiliation and violence. Lee Ta-ling, a former Red Guard, remembered seeing

rows of teachers, about 40 or 50 in all, with black ink poured over their heads and faces so that they were now in reality a "black gang." Hanging on their necks were placards with words such as "reactionary academic authority so-and-so," "corrupt ringleader so-and-so," "class enemy so-and-so," "capitalist roader so-and-so"; all epithets taken from the newspapers. On each placard was a red cross, making the teachers look like condemned prisoners awaiting execution. They all wore dunce caps painted with similar epithets and catried dirty brooms, shoes, and dusters on their backs. Hanging from their necks were pails filled with rocks. . . . All were barefoot, hitting broken gongs or pots as they walked around the field crying out: "I am black gangster so-and-so." Finally, they all knelt down, burned incense, and begged Mao Zedong to "pardon their crimes." . . . Beatings and torture followed. I had never seen such tortures before: eating nightsoil [human waste] and insects, being subjected to electric shocks, being forced to kneel on broken glass, being hanged "like an airplane" by the arms and legs. . . . The heaviest blow to me that day was the killing of my most respected and beloved teacher, Chen Ku-teh.118

Tens of thousands apparently chose suicide over further persecution. In Beijing, for example, where "the cleansing of the class ranks resulted in the deaths of 3,731 people between January 1968 and May 1969 . . . more than 94 percent of the deaths [wete] registered as suicide."119

Chang and Halliday estimated that "in the ten years from when Mao started the Purge until his death in 1976, at least 3 million people died violent deaths, and post-Mao leaders acknowledged that 100 million people, one-ninth of the entire popu­lation, suffered in one way or another."120 Eventually the so-called "Red Guard"


Figure 5.7 Spectators look on as purge victims are paraded for public humiliation duting the Cultural Revolution, rhe last bout of Maoist extremism before rhe dictator's 1976 dearh.

Source. University of Florida.

factions that Mao had mobilized began running out of tatgets and fighting among themselves. What had begun as "a massive pogrom against people of exploiting class background" became, in many areas, "a campaign of retribution and murder against factional rivals."121

The terror ended with Mao's death in 1976, at the age of 82. The "Gang of Four" (including Mao's wife, Jiang Qing), which had supervised the day-to-day logistics of his later-life derangements, was purged and incarcerated by reformists headed by Deng Xiaoping, who sought the equivalent of a "destalinization" campaign. However, China's revision of Maoism went only so far: to reveal all of Mao's crimes, genocidal and otherwise, would have risked undermining the government's claim to legitimacy. Deng Xiaoping, who had been suppressed under Mao's regime, provided the official formula: Mao was "seven parts good, three parts bad."122 His portrait still hangs ovet the entrance to the imperial city on the edge of Tiananmen Square, and despite his "errors," he is still revered as the father of modern China.123 One-party rule persists, bolsteted by selective violence — notably the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989, in which several thousand Chinese were slaughtered by government forces.124 Resurgent nationalist protests on the Chinese periphery, in Tibet and in the Muslim-majority region of Xinjiang, have also been ruthlessly quashed.




The tyrannical and ultra-isolated nation of North Korea is one inheritor of Stalinist and Maoist patterns of rule. These include a "cult of personality" surrounding the family dictatorship that has run the country (into the ground) since the Second World War, political persecution, and widespread famine.125 Unlike either of these models, however, North Korea also indulges in "explicit racial theorizing," including a "strident acclamation of Koreans as the world's 'cleanest' or 'purest' race."126 The concern with purity (see the discussion of this psychological phenomenon in Chapter 10) is reflected in the regime's ultra-isolation from the rest of the world, and its suffocation of modernity in every area save military hardware.127 The ideology, which also includes strong elements of paranoia and dependency, is examined in a groundbreaking 2010 work, The Cleanest Race, by B.R. Myers. One of Myers's insights is that to the extent the North Korean ideology is defined by its "race-based worldview," it may make "more sense to posit it on the extreme right than on the far left. Indeed, the similarity to the worldview of fascist Japan is striking."128

It was Japan that colonized Korea in the nineteenth century, and divided after the Second World War into northern and southern zones under different occupation regimes, Korea solidified into two opposing states. Conflict between them flared into open war-with Soviet, Chinese, and US backing - from 1950 to 1953. After a truce was agreed. North Korea, under its dictator and "Dear Leader" Kim II Sung, became "the Hermit kingdom" - the most tightly sealed and secretive dictatorship in the world.

The fall of communism elsewhere changed nothing in North Korea. The Kim dynasty continued with the ascent of Kim Jong II following his father's 1994 death. Privation and mass suffering increased after the fall of the Soviet Union and Chinese policy transformations dramatically cut foreign aid. The result, in 1994, was one of the worst famines in recent history, killing two to three million North Koreans. As international aid flooded in, the regime conducted a brutal "triage," denying food to those "not seen as critical to the survival of the state." "The corrupt cadres are stealing the food and selling it on the markets for their own profit while we starve," refugees told investigators.'29 As under Stalin, forced requisitions exac­erbated the famine: "to feed the army, Kim Jong II sent soldiers directly to the farms at harvest time to forcibly grab the harvest" and "did everything to prevent the population from finding alternative ways of feeding themselves." So wrote journalist Jasper Becker in his study Rogue Regime. While acknowledging that "genocide is normally interpreted to mean the mass killings of another race," Becker contended that "this too" - the death of millions through politically-manipulated famine -"is a form of genocide."130



In the face of the rampant starvation, North Koreans staged acts of resistance, including "protests, strikes, local uprisings, the sabotage of official buildings, and the murder of officials and their families."131 The Kim regime, of course, viewed all such manifestations as "traitorous." Those not subjected to summary execution were dispatched to the North Korean version of the Gulag. Since its founding, successive North Korean regimes have operated a network of "special control institutions" (Kwanliso), some of them up to twenty miles long and half as wide. If they were not summarily shot, prisoners were forced into mortally dangerous slave labor. According to Young Howard, a South Korean activist working with the US National Endowment for Democracy:

Prisoners are provided just enough food to be kept perpetually on the verge of starvation. They are compelled by their hunger to eat, if they can get away with it, the food of the labor-camp farm animals, as well as plants, grasses, bark, rats, snakes and anything remotely edible. In committing such desperate acts driven by acute hunger the prisoners simultaneously incur the extreme risk of being detected by an angry security guard and subjected to a brutal, on-the-spot execution. Not surprisingly, the prisoners are quickly reduced to walking skeletons after their arrival. All gulag survivors said they were struck by the shortness, skinniness, premature aging, hunchbacks, and physical deformities of so many of the inmates they saw upon arriving at the gulag. These descriptions parallel those provided by survivors of the Holocaust in infamous camps like Auschwitz.

In its 2007 report, North Korea: A Case to Answer, A Call to Act, issued in 2007, the nongovernmental organization Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) contended that the conditions inflicted on prisoners had killed hundreds of thousands of inmates over the decades - with estimates ranging from 380,000 to over one million. This could qualify as both genocide and the crime against humanity of "extermination" (see p. 539). "The political prison camp policy," wrote CSW, "appears calculated to cause the death of a large number of persons who form a part of the population, namely those labelled as 'enemies' who suffer on account of their genuine or alleged political beliefs or other crimes."132


Genocide scholars increasingly accept that the tyrannies of both Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong produced "canonical" cases of genocide. But this is a relatively recent phenomenon — in large part because both Stalin's and Mao's violence was primarily inflicted upon political and class "enemies," and these groups lie outside the bounds of the UN Genocide Convention (see Chapter 1). As with the Cambodian case discussed in Chapter 7, however, there is now a greater awareness of the extent to which "ttaditional" groups were targeted for genocide (notably national minorities



like the Chechens and Tibetans), as well as a greater willingness among scholars to incorporate political groups and social classes into a broad genocide framing.

In evaluating the Stalinist period, the application of a genocide framework to the Ukrainian famine (1931-32) remains a controversial subject of debate. But even some of those once skeptical of the label have shifted toward it. Nicholas Werth declined to render a verdict of genocide in his long chaptet on Stalinist crimes for The Black Book of Communism in 1999. But by 2008, his position had shifted:

A whole panoply of repressive measures was put in place, ranging from closure of shops to police questioning of any peasants trying to flee from their starving villages. Over and above this range of repressive measures, it is clear that Stalin, from the end of the summer of 1932, really had decided to worsen the famine that was beginning, to turn it into a weapon, to extend it deliberately. . . . Recent research has shown, without any doubt, that the Ukrainian case is quite specific, at least from the second half of 1932 onwards. On the basis of these new consid­erations, it seems to me legitimate to classify as genocide the totality of the actions taken by the Stalin tegime to punish, by means of famine and terror, the Ukrainian peasantry.133

Lynne Viola similarly contended that "the famine was the natural conclusion of the disasters of collectivization, dekulakization, and merciless grain levies; it was minutely observed and publicly ignored by a regime and a dictator that viewed the peasantry as less than human, as raw material to be exploited to the maximum."134

Scholars of such calamities who accept the validity of a genocide framework, including this one, generally argue that culpable negligence may constitute genocidal intent, as Martin Shaw has suggested with specific reference to the Chinese famine in 1959-62: "If leaders know that their policies may lead (or are leading) to the social and physical destruction of a group, and fail to take steps to avoid (or halt) it - as Mao Zedong, for example, knew of the effects of the Great Leap Forward but continued his policies - then they come to 'intend' the suffering they cause and may similarly be guilty [of genocide]."135

Both Stalin and Mao, as we have seen, also tatgeted ethnic minorities like the Chechens in the Soviet Union (Box 5a) and Tibetans (Box 5.2, above). But it was in the targeting of "enemy" classes and political tendencies — whether real or imagined - that these regimes truly served as twentieth-century prototypes. By means of direct execution (and, especially in the Chinese case, by deliberately driving numerous victims to suicide), these regimes killed millions of innocent people. Though their image as a "socialist vanguard" for the world's oppressed waned long ago, the Stalinist and Maoist models survive in North Korea, which, ironically, seems to serve both present-day Russia and China as a useful buffer against democratic reform from abroad (see Box 5.3).




Stalin and Stalinism

Note: The Stalinist period in the USSR has become a classic study of dictatorship and political terror. The following is a small sample of works in English.

Martin Amis, Koba the Dread: Laughter and the Twenty Million. New York: Hyperion, 2002. British novelist's uneven but evocative study of Stalin's era and personality.

Anne Applebaum, Gulag: A History. London: Penguin, 2003. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize; an epic single-volume history of the Soviet forced-labor camps.

Robert Conquest, The Harvest of Sorrow: Soviet Collectivization and the Terror-Famine. New York: Oxford University Press, 1986. Conquest has retreated from his thesis that Stalin planned the famine of the early 1930s, but his groundbreaking work well conveys the scale and hotror of the human destruction wreaked by col­lectivization.

Robert Conquest, The Great Terror: A Reassessment. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990. Updated version of Conquest's seminal 1960s study.

Stephane Courtois et al., The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression, ttans. Jonathan Murphy and Mark Kramer. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999. Massive indictment of communist regimes; includes Nicolas Werth's penetrating study of the USSR, "A State Against Its People."

R.W Davies and Stephen G. Wheatcroft, The Years of Hunger: Soviet Agriculture, 1931—1933. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004. Volume in the series "The Industrialisation of Soviet Russia"; usefully consulted alongside Conquest's Harvest of Sorrow.

Miton Dolot, Execution by Hunger: The Hidden Holocaust. New Yotk: WW Norton,

1985. Memoir of the Ukrainian famine. Orlando Figes, The Whisperers: Private Life in Stalin's Russia. New York: Henry Holt

and Company, 2007. Seating portraits of life under Stalinist terror. See also A

People's Tragedy: A History of the Russian Revolution. Sheila Fitzpatrick, Everyday Stalinism: Ordinary Life in Extraordinary Times: Soviet

Russia in the 1930s. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999. Individual perspec­tives on social transformations; see also Stalin's Peasants: Resistance and Survival

in the Russian Village after Collectivization. Eugenia Ginzburg, Journey into the Whirlwind. New York: Harvest, 2002. Account

of atrest and the Gulag; see also the sequel, Within the Whirlwind. Adam Hochschild, The Unquiet Ghost: Russians Remember Stalin. New York: Viking,

1994. Taut work on history and memory. Halyna Hryn, ed., Hunger by Design: The Great Ukrainian Famine and Its Soviet

Context. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2008. Slender volume

capturing the "state of the art" of Holodomor research. Nadezhda Mandelstam, Hope Against Hope, trans. Max Hayward. New York: The

Modern Libraty, 1999. Powerful, poetic recollections of Stalinist terror. Simon Sebag Montefiore, Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar. London: Phoenix, 2004.

Montefiore's description of life in Stalin's "court" is gossipy but galvanizing.



Robert Service, Stalin: A Biography. Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press, 2005. A very

serviceable biography, though brisk with the human consequences of Stalin's rule. Varlam Shalamov, Kolyma Tales. London: Penguin, 1994. Documentary-style short

stories about the Kolyma camps, by a former inmate. Alexander Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago, 1918—1956. New York:

HarperPerennial, 2002. Abridged one-volume version of Solzhenitsyn's classic

three-volume study of the camp system. Robert W. Thurston, Life and Terror in Stalin's Russia, 1934—1941. New Haven, CT:

Yale University Press, 1996. Fine, somewhat revisionist social history. Lynne Viola, The Unknown Gulag: The Lost Worlds of Stalin's Special Settlements.

Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007. Moving, intensively researched study of

the "kulak" deportations during the period of Stalinist collectivization and

political purges.

Chris Ward, ed., The Stalinist Dictatorship (2nd edn). London: Arnold, 1998. Comprehensive survey of the roots and functioning of the Stalinist system.

Mao, Maoism, and Tibet

Jasper Becker, Hungry Ghosts: Mao's Secret Famine. New York: Henry Holt, 1998. Describes the catastrophe of Mao's "Great Leap Forward," with particular atten­tion to ethnic Tibetan suffering.

Central Tibetan Administration, Tibet Under Communist China — Fifty Years. Available at /en/index.php?id= 187&rmenuid= 11. A detailed report by the Tibetan government-in-exile; partisan but well-researched, and reflecting the government's political modetation.

Jung Chang and Jon Halliday, Mao: The Unknown Story. New York: Anchor Books, 2005. Borders on caricature in places, but sobering and myth-shattering on many counts.

Mary Craig, Tears of Blood: A Cry for Tibet. Washington, DC: Counterpoint Press,

2000. Impassioned overview of Tibet under Chinese rule. Roderick MacFarquhar, Mao's Last Revolution. Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press

of Harvard University Press, 2006. The most detailed treatment in English of

the Cultural Revolution of 1966-76. Jean-Louis Margolin, "China: A Long March into Night," in Courtois et al., The

Black Book of Communism (see Stalin and Stalinism, above), pp. 463—546.

Detailed evaluation of Chinese communism's record. Tsering Shakya, The Dragon in the Land of Snows: A History of Modern Tibet Since

1947. New York: Penguin Compass, 2000. "The first scholarly history of Tibet

undet Chinese occupation" (Time); fair-minded throughout.

North Korea

Christian Solidarity Worldwide, "North Korea: A Case to Answer, A Call to Act," 2007 teport, .uk/article.asp?t=report&id=35. Human



rights teport on the North Korean regime, with much firsthand testimony from escapees.

Jasper Becker, Rogue Regime: Kim Jong II and the Looming Threat of North Korea.

Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005. Like the author's Hungry Ghosts, a

readable overview of a despot's catastrophic rule. B.R. Myers, The Cleanest Race: How North Koreans See Themselves - and Why It

Matters. Brooklyn, NY: Melville House, 2009. Intriguing study of "North Korea's

dominant ideology or worldview," extensively illustrated with samples of the

regime's propaganda.


1 Richard Rubenstein, The Age of Triage: Fear and Hope in an Overcrowded World (Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 1983), p. 19.

2 Arno J. Mayer, The Furies: Violence and Terror in the French and Russian Revolutions (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2000), p. 45.

3 Alec Nove, Stalinism and After (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1975), p. 23.

4 Lenin quoted in Nicolas Werth, "A State Against Its People: Violence, Repression, and Terror in the Soviet Union," in Stephane Courtois etal, The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression, trans. Jonathan Murphy and Mark Kramer (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999), p. 70.

5 Werth, no friend of Leninism, argues that "the use of terror as a key instrument in the Leninist political project had been foreseen during the outbreak of the civil war, and was intended to be of limited dutation" ("A State Against Its People," p. 265).

6 "At the maximum, the American Relief Administration and its associated organizations wete feeding over 10,400,000 mouths, and various othet organizations neatly two million more, for a total of more than 12,300,000." Robert Conquest, The Harvest of Sorrow: Collectivization and the Terror-Famine (New Yotk: Oxford University Press, 1986), p. 56. This must qualify as one of the most exttaotdinary and successful "human­itarian interventions" in history, saving millions of lives.

7 Simon Sebag Montefiore, Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar (London: Phoenix, 2004), p. 27.

8 Robert Service, Stalin: A Biography (Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press, 2005), p. 174.

9 In exile, Trotsky founded the "Foutth International" of the socialist movement, and became the most outspoken opponent of Stalin's policies. A Stalinist agent ttacked him down and killed him in Mexico City in 1940.

10 Anne Applebaum, Gulag: A History (London: Penguin, 2004), p. 62.

11 Conquest, The Harvest of Sorrow, v. 19.

12 Lynne Viola, The Unknown Gulag: The LostWorld ofStalin's SpecialSettlements (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009), p. 5.

13 Lenin quoted in ibid., p. 110.

14 Lenin quoted in Montefiore, Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar, p. 45.

15 Viola, The Unknown Gulag, p. 6.

16 Service, Stalin: A Biography, p. 267.

17 Khataevich quoted in Applebaum, Gulag, p. 515.

18 Figes, The Whisperers, p. 87.

19 See Werth, "A State Against Its People," p. 155, with an "estimate that approximately 300,000 depottees died during the process of deportation"; Figes, The Whisperers, p. 88.

20 Viola, The Unknown Gulag, p. 114.

21 Ibid., p. 91.

22 Nicholas Werth, "The Crimes of the Stalin Regime: Outline for an Inventory and



Classification" (ttans. Mike Routledge), in Dan Stone, ed., The Historiography of Genocide (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008), p. 408.

23 See, for example, the judicious assessment of Andtea Graziosi: "Between the end of 1932 and the summet of 1933 [i.e., at the height of the famine], . . . Stalin and the tegime he controlled and coetced . . . consciously executed, as part of a drive directed at breaking the peasantry, an anti-Ukrainian policy aimed at mass extetmination and causing a genocide . . . whose physical and psychological scars are still visible today. . . . This geno­cide was the product of a famine that was not willfully caused with such aim in mind, but was willfully maneuvered towards this end once it came about as the unanticipated result of the regime policies . . ." Graziosi, "The Soviet 1931-1933 Famines and the Ukrainian Holodomor: Is a New Intetpretation Possible, and What Would Its Consequences Be?," in Halyna Hryn, ed., Hunger by Design: The Great Ukrainian Famine and Its Soviet Context (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2008), p. 11; emphasis added. See also the verdict of Nicolas Werth (p. 217).

24 This was Robert Conquest's assertion (The Harvest of Sorrow, p. 196), but is contested by R.W. Davies and Stephen G. Wheatcroft in The Years of Hunger: Soviet Agriculture, 1931-1933 (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004), pp. 440-41. Conquest himself has now abandoned a strongly "intentionalist" position.

25 Conquest, The Harvest of Sorrow, p. 224.

26 Testimony quoted in ibid., p. 245.

27 The document is reproduced and translated in Hryn, ed., Hunger by Design, pp. 44-45.

28 The phenomenon was evident as well during the famine conditions imposed by the Nazis on Jews in the ghettoes of the occupied tettitoties (see Chaptet 6). The Warsaw Ghetto's great chronicler, Emmanuel Ringelblum, described "an evident and terrible slackening of the sentiment of compassion. Walking through the streets, one passes children as emaciated as skeletons, barefoot and naked, who put out frozen-blue hands for alms - in vain. People have grown as hard and unfeeling as stones." Ringelblum, Notes from the Warsaw Ghetto: The Journal ofEmmanuel Ringelblum, ed. and ttans. Jacob Sloan (New Yotk: Schocken, 1974), p. 225.

29 Davies and Wheatcroft, The Years of Hunger, p. 415. According to Werth, about four million of the victims were Ukrainian ("A State Against Its People," p. 167).

30 Sergei Maksudov, "Victory over the Peasantry," in Hryn, ed., Hunger by Design, pp. 92, 94.

31 Niccolo Pianciola, "The Collectivization Famine in Kazakhstan, 1931-1933," in Hryn, ed., Hunger by Design, p. 103.

32 Figes, The Whisperers, p. 208.

33 See Applebaum, Gulag, ch. 4.

34 Conquest, The Harvest of Sorrow, pp. 127-28.

35 Leo Kuper, Genocide: Its Political Use in the Twentieth Century (Hatmondsworth: Penguin, 1981), p. 150.

36 Ibid.

37 Robett Conquest, Kolyma: The Arctic Death Camps (London: Methuen, 1978), p. 229.

38 Adam Hochschild, The Unquiet Ghost: Russians Remember Stalin (New York: Viking, 1994), p. xxv. "I asked four . . . researchers, who between them have wtitten or edited more than half a dozen books on the gulag, what was the total Kolyma death toll. One estimated it at 250,000, one at 300,000, one at 800,000, and one at 'more than 1,000,000.' . . . We will probably never know the answer" (p. 237).

39 Kuper, Genocide, p. 150.

40 "I have not, it must be noted, found any memoirs describing 'selections' of the sort that took place in German death camps. That is, I have not read of tegulat selections which ended in weak prisoners being taken aside and shot. . . . Weak ptisoneis were not mutdered upon arrival in some of the further-flung camps, but rathet given a petiod of 'quarantine,' both to ensure that any illnesses they were carrying would not spread, and to allow them to 'fatten up,' to recover theit health after long months in prison and terrible journeys." Applebaum, Gulag, p. 175.



41 Montefiore, Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar, p. 151. Robert Conquest calls the Kirov killing "the crime of the century" because it became "the keystone of the entire edifice of terror and suffering by which Stalin secured his grip on the Soviet peoples." Robert Conquest, The Great Terror: A Reassessment (New York: Oxford University Press, 1990), p. 37.

42 Werth, "A State Against Its People," pp. 190, 264.

43 Viola, The Unknown Gulag, pp. 163, 165. Figes wrote that "By far the biggest of [the] mass campaigns was the 'kulak operation' instituted by the infamous Directive 00447: it accounted for half of all arrests (669,929) and more than half the executions (376,202) in 1937-38. Neatly all the victims wete former 'kulaks' and their families who had recently retutned from 'special settlements' and Gulag labour camps ..." "As a result of the 'national operation' against the Poles, launched by Directive 00485 in August 1937, almost 140,000 people were shot or sent to labour camps by November 1938" {The Whisperers, p. 241). Overall, the "kulak" death toll during the 1930s was "roughly half a million" (Viola, The Unknown Gulag, p. 183).

44 The strength of appeals to solidarity and party unity in extracting confessions from the "Old Bolsheviks" was memorably captured in Arthur Koestlei's 1940 novel, Darkness at Noon (New Yotk: Bantam, 1984).

45 Figes, The Whisperers, p. 238.

46 Ibid., pp. 238-39.

47 The infamous Order 00447, also known as the "Kulak Eradication Program," estab­lished "for every region . . . initial quotas for those to be executed and for those to be imprisoned for 8-10 years. The quota for the Moscow region was 5,000 people to be shot and 30,000 incarcerated; for Leningrad, 4,000 and 10,000 respectively. Ukraine's quota was set at 8,000 to be shot and 20,800 incarcerated." Ben Kiernan, Blood and Soil: A World History of Genocide and Extermination from Sparta to Darfur (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2007), p. 508.

48 Alexander Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago Two (New York: Harper & Row, 1975), p. 633.

49 Nadezhda Mandelstam, Hope Against Hope (New York: Modern Library, 1999), pp. 322-23, 352.

50 See, e.g., Robert W. Thurston, Life and Terror in Stalin's Russia, 1934-1941 (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1996), pp. 79-80.

51 Conquest, The Great Terror: A Reassessment, p. 433.

52 In part to shift blame from Stalin, the putge became known subsequently as the Yezhovshchina, or "The Reign of Yezhov," in Werth's translation ("A State Against Its People," p. 184).

53 Conquest, The Great Terror: A Reassessment, p. 438.

54 The Nazis uncovered some 4,000 of the corpses during Operation Barbarossa in 1941. The Soviet regime accused them of spreading libels, and blamed the Nazis for the crime at the Nuremberg tribunal.

55 Applebaum, Gulag, pp. 382-83.

56 See Jan Gross, Neighbors: The Destruction of the Jewish Community in fedwabne, Poland (Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univetsity Press, 2002).

57 Janusz Bardach, Man is Wolf to Man: Surviving the Gulag (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1999). The quoted passages in this section are drawn from pp. xiii, 11, 19, 88, 106, 114, 133-34, 192, 204, 220, 231, and 233.

58 "The exploitation of this Gulag labout force became more intense during the war. In mines and logging camps, prisoners were driven to the brink of death to increase fuel supplies, while rations were reduced to the bare minimum required to keep them alive. In 1942, the rate of mortality in the Gulag labour camps was a staggering 25 per cent - that is, one in every four Gulag workers died that year." Figes, The Whisperers, p. 426.

59 Applebaum, Gulag, pp. 378-79.



60 Ibid., p. 410.

61 See the various prisoner totals and casualty estimates cited in "Japanese Prisoners of War in the Soviet Union," Wikipedia.otg, http://en.wikipedia.ofg/wiki/Japanese_prisonets_ of_war_in_the_Soviet_Union.

62 Ibid.

63 Alexander Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago One (New York: Harper & Row, 1974), p. 240.

64 An earlier precedent, important for understanding Leninist-Stalinist continuity, is the genocide against the Don and Kuban Cossacks during the civil war of 1919 to 1920. According to Eric Weitz, "'Cossack' came to mean anti-Soviet, a synonym for 'enemy' that carried an implicit racialization of a group defined not even by ethnicity but by its special service relationship to the czarist state." Ehe death-toll was 300,000 to 500,000 out of a population of three million. Eric D. Weitz, A Century of Genocide: Utopias of Race and Nation (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2003), p. 69; see also Werth, "A State Against Its People," pp. 98-102.

65 Alexander Statiev, "Soviet Ethnic Depottations: Intent versus Outcome," fournal of Genocide Research, 11: 2-3 (2009), pp. 243-44.

66 Ibid., p. 244.

67 Ibid., p. 246. Statiev, however, bound by a highly restrictive definition of (specific) "intent," contends that the fact that the deportations did not constitute planned extetminations means that they do not constitute "a clear-cut case of genocide and any further discussion on whethet the government committed genocide would be not only ideologically loaded but also stetile" (p. 260). I believe this gives shott shrift to more flexible and encompassing understandings of genocidal intent. It also overlooks the legal definition of "extetmination" as a crime against humanity, and its overlap with Atticle 2(c) of the Genocide Convention: that is, the infliction of conditions of life which it is known, or should be known, will cause the desttuction of the designated groups in whole or in part. See further discussion on pp. 13 and 539.

68 Finnish speakers in the Karelia region of northwest Russia also suffered after the Finns, seeking to regain territories lost to Stalin in the winter war of 1939-40, joined the Nazi thrust into the Soviet Union.

69 On the Ctimean Tatars, see Brian Glyn Williams, "Hidden Ethnocide in the Soviet Muslim Botderlands: The Ethnic Cleansing of the Crimean Tatars," fournal of Genocide Research, 4: 3 (2002), pp. 357-73.

70 Lyman H. Legters, "Soviet Depottation of Whole Nations: A Genocidal Process," ch. 4 in Samuel Totten et al., Century of Genocide: Eyewitness Accounts and Critical Views (New York: Gatland Publishing, 1997), pp. 112-35. See also Robett Conquest, The Nation Killers: The Soviet Deportation of Nationalities (London: Macmillan, 1970); Aleksander M. Nekrich, The Punished Peoples: The Deportation and Tragic Fate of Soviet Minorities at the End of the Second World War, trans. George Saunders (New York: Norton, 1978); and J. Otto Pohl, "Stalin's Genocide against the 'Repressed Peoples,'" fournal of Genocide Research, 2: 2 (June 2000), pp. 267-93.

71 Applebaum, Gulag, p. 388.

72 Ibid. According to Nicolas Werth, "Of the 608,749 people deported from the Caucasus,

146,892, or nearly 1 in 4, had died by 1 Ocrober 1948____Of the 228,392 people

deported from the Ctimea, 44,887 had died after four years." Werth, "A State Against Its People," p. 223.

73 After Stalin's death, the remnants of some deported nationalities were allowed to return to their former tetritories, but the extinguished political units were not always revived.

74 Service, Stalin: A Biography, p. 592.

75 RJ. Rummei, Death by Government (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 1994), p. 101.

76 Peng Pai quoted in Kiernan, Blood and Soil, p. 519.

77 Kiernan, Blood and Soil, p. 521.



78 Jung Chang and Jon Halliday, Mao: The Unknown Story (New York: Anchor Books, 2006), p. 309.

79 Mao quoted in Sudeep Chakravarti, Red Sun: Travels in Naxalite Country (New Delhi: Viking, 2008), p. 169.

80 Chang and Halliday, Mao, p. 311.

81 Benjamin Valentino, Final Solutions: Mass Killing and Genocide in the 20th Century (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Ptess, 2004), p. 121.

82 Jean-Louis Margolin, "Mao's China: The Worst Non-Genocidal Regime?," in Dan Stone, ed., The Historiography of Genocide (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008), p. 453.

83 Kiernan, Blood and Soil, p. 529.

84 Margolin, "Mao's China," p. 453.

85 Chang and Halliday, Mao, p. 319.

86 Ibid.

87 Central Tibetan Administration (hereafter, CTA), Tibet under Communist China — Fifty Years (2001), /en/index.php?id=187&rmenuid=l 1, p. 54.

88 The distinction between "Outer Tibet" and "Inner Tibet" was first made in the 1913-1914 Simla Conference and Convention, in which Tibet, China, and Britain partici­pated. "Chinese suzerainty over the whole of Tibet was tecognized but China engaged not to convert Tibet into a Chinese province. The autonomy of Outer Tibet was recog­nised and China agreed to abstain from interference in its internal administration which was to test with Tibetans themselves. In Inner Tibet the central Tibetan Government at Lhasa was to retain its existing rights." George N. Patterson, "China and Tibet: Background to the Revolt," The China Quarterly, 1 (January-March 1960), p. 90.

89 Tsering Shakya, The Dragon in the Land of Snows: A History of Modern Tibet since 1947 (New York: Penguin Compass, 2000), p. xxx.

90 Ibid., p. xxviii.

91 CTA, Tibet under Communist China, p. 130.

92 Eric S. Margolis, War at the Top of the World: The Struggle for Afghanistan, Kashmir, and Tibet (New York: Routledge, 2001), p. 195.

93 See the full text of the "Agreement of the Centtal People's Government and the Local Government of Tibet on Measutes for the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet" at http://www. /eng/gyzg/xizang/t424244.htm.

94 See Frank Morales, The Revolt in Tibet (New York: Macmillan, 1960).

95 CTA, Tibet under Communist China, p. 9.

96 Shakya refers to "areas where all able young men had been arrested and imprisoned, leaving the villages inhabited only by old people and women." The Dragon in the Land of Snows, p. 271.

97 Jean-Louis Matgolin, "China: A Long March into Night," in Stephane Courtois et al, eds, The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999), p. 545.

98 "The Cultural Revolution and Its Legacy in Tibet," available at: cu/ccba/ceat/issues/ spring98/text-onfy/hennsidebar2.htm.

99 For an overview of this period, see Solomon M. Karmel, "Ethnic Tension and the Struggle for Order: China's Policies in Eibet," Pacific Affairs, 68 (Winter 1995-96), pp. 485-505.

100 See Anita Chang, "Group [the International Campaign for Tibet] Says Railway Threatens Tibet," Associated Press dispatch on Yahoo! News, Febtuary 27, 2008.

101 Tim Johnson, "China Orders Resettlement of Thousands of Tibetans," , May 6, 2007.

102 Shakya, The Dragon in the Land of Snows, p.430.

103 Tristan Stewart-Robertson, "80 People Dead in 'Cultural Genocide,'" The Scotsman, 17 March 2008. See also Isabel Hilton, "The World Is No Longer Looking - But Tibet's Plight Isn't Over," The Independent, March 10, 2009.



104 "China 'Annihilating Tibetan Buddhism,'" Associated Press dispatch in The Sydney Morning Herald, March 11, 2010, .au/wotld/china-annihilating-tibetan-buddhism-20100311 -pzj2.html.

105 Matgolin, "China," p.546.

106 Quoted in Shakya, The Dragon in the Land of Snows, p. 223; see the "ICJ Report on Tibet 1960."

107 Maura Moynihan, "Genocide in Tibet," The Washington Post, January 25, 1998. Tibetan nationalists have often alleged that China is guilty of anothet strategy of genocide under the tetms of the UN Convention: preventing Tibetan births through forcible sterilization of Tibetan women. However, the evidence does not suppoft this. See Melvyn C. Goldstein and Cynthia M. Beall, "China's Birth Control Policy in the Tibet Autonomous Region: Myths and Realities," Asian Survey, 31: 3 (March 1991), pp. 285-303.

108 See "The Five Point Peace Plan for Tibet, by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Washington, DC, 21 September 1987," /info/file/file3.html. The proposals were "further clarified" but "also developed . . . further" in the Dalai Lama's speech to European Parliament representatives in June 1988; for details, see Shakya, The Dragon in the Land of Snows, p. 423.

109 For an account of strategic rethinking now underway in the Tibetan exile community, see "Tibetans Meet to Rethink Autonomy," , November 17, 2008.

110 Chang and Halliday, Mao, p. 431.

111 Margolin, "Mao's China," p. 446.

112 Chang and Halliday, Mao, pp. 418-19.

113 Margolin, "China," p. 495.

114 Shakya, The Dragon in the Land of Snows, p. 262.

115 Chang and Halliday, Mao, p. 443.

116 Ibid. In 1958-59, according to Chang and Halliday, "Grain exports alone, almost exactly 7 million tons, would have provided the equivalent of over 840 calories per day for 38 million people - the difference between life and death. And this was only gtain; it does not include the meat, cooking oil, eggs and other foodstuffs that were exported in very large quantities. Had this food not been exported (and instead distributed according to humane criteria), very probably not a single person in China would have had to die of hunger" {Mao, p. 430).

117 Margolin, "Mao's China," p. 459.

118 Lee quoted in Margolin, "China," p. 495.

119 Roderick MacFarquhar and Michael Schoenhals, Mao's Last Revolution (Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2006), p. 258.

120 Chang and Halliday, Mao, p. 536.

121 Walder quoted in MacFarquhar and Schoenhals, Mao's Last Revolution, p. 256.

122 Jonathan Watts, "China Must Confront Dark Past, Says Mao Confidant," The Guardian, June 2, 2005, http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2005/jun/02/china.jonathanwatts. See also Andrew Jacobs, "China Is Wordless on Traumas of Communists' Rise," The New York Times, October 1, 2009 (60th anniversary of the victory of the communist revo­lution), /2009/10/02/world/asia/02anniversary.html.

123 See, e.g., Jonathan Watts, "Mao Casts Long Shadow Over China," The Guardian, May 16, 2006, http://www.guatdian.co.uk/world/2006/may/16/china.jonathanwatts.

124 Robin Munro, "Remembering Tiananmen Square: Who Died in Beijing, and Why," The Nation, June 11, 1990, /doc/199006ll/munro.

125 This box text includes and adapts passages from Adam Jones, Crimes Against Humanity: A Beginner's Guide (Oxford: Oneworld, 2008), pp. 81-84.

126 B.R. Myers, The Cleanest Race: How North Koreans See Themselves — and Why It Matters (Brooklyn, NY: Melville House, 2010).

127 One of the more poignant images of the modern era is the nighttime contrast between the northern and southern states of the Korean peninsula, the latter lit up like a casino,



the fotmer almost invisible. See, e.g., "Korea's Dark Half," Strange Maps, hup:// /2007/12/16/218-koreas-dark-half/.

128 Myers, The Cleanest Race, p. 15.

129 Andrew Natsios, "The Politics of Famine in North Korea," United States Institute of Peace report, 2 August 1999. /files/resources/sr990802.pdf

130 Jasper Becker, Rogue Regime: Kim Jong II and the Looming Threat of North Korea (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006), pp. 32-33, 266.

131 Ibid., p. 36.

132 Christian Solidarity Worldwide, North Korea: A Case to Answer, a Call to Act (New Maiden: Christian Solidarity Wotldwide, 2007), p. 43. Emphasis added. The report can be downloaded in PDF format at .uk/article.asp?t=report&id =35. See also Blaine Harden, "Escapee Tells of Horrors in North Korean Prison Camp," The Washington Post, December 11, 2008.

133 Werth, "The Crimes of the Stalin Regime," p. 415. Emphasis in original.

134 Viola, The Unknown Gulag, p. 133.

135 Martin Shaw, What is Genocide? (Cambridge: Polity, 2007), p. 85.

As discussed in Chapter 5, the people of Chechnya were among a number of nationalities accused of complicity with the Nazis during the Second World War, rounded up, and deported under murderous conditions to distant and barren lands. At least 390,000 Chechens — perhaps many more — were uprooted in this way. Fully a quartet of them died en route to their exile, and survivors faced a constant struggle against the elements and poor soils.1 After Stalin's death, most of these populations were returned to their homelands. Yet bitter memories lingered, and they explain something of the extraordinary persistence of Chechen rebel forces in their war for independence.2

One must dig deeper for the roots of Chechen nationalism and its conflict with "Greater Russia." Chechens were at the forefront of efforts to resist Russian expansion during the mid-nineteenth centuty. For thtee decades after 1829, the expansionist tsarist state waged "almost unremitting warfare" in the Caucasus, with "hundreds upon hundreds of villages . . . razed, accompanied by terrorist reprisal and atrocity directed against their inhabitants."3 When the North Caucasus was finally overwhelmed and incorporated into the empire, some 600,000 Caucasians - 100,000 of them Chechens - "were sent to the Ottoman Empire, where tens of thousands petished from starvation and disease."4

The Chechens rallied after the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, but their aspirations for independence were doomed by renewed Russian (now Soviet) expansionism. The Bolsheviks occupied Chechnya, and in 1924 established the Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Region which Stalin would cancel in the 1940s.

The liberalizing wave that struck the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe in the late 1980s resulted in the breakup of the Soviet empire; but Chechnya was a federal unit of Russia, not a Soviet union republic. When Russian president



Boris Yeltsin took over from Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev, he decided that no secession from Russia itself would be permitted. In the Chechen case, there were material considerations: a major oil pipeline ran through Chechnya, which was home to substantial petroleum resources of its own. Whoever controlled them was guaranteed a strategic presence in the region as a whole.

Russian policy reflected an ingrained racism towards Chechens. Chechnya had long been an "obsession" for the Russians, wrote journalist David Remnick: "an image of Islamic defiance, an embodiment of the ptimitive, the devious, the elusive." Chechens were seen as bumpkins and "black asses." "Yeltsin knew well that for many Russians the Chechens were nothing more than a tribe of 'thieving niggers.'"5 The conflict can also be viewed in light of the Russian humiliation in the war against Afghanistan (1979-90; see Chapter 2). As Gregory Feifer noted in his 2009 history of that war, "the Kremlin calls the [Chechen] rebels 'bandits' and 'terrorists' - echoing the same words the Soviet Union used to describe the Afghan mujahideen [Islamic warriors] - and claims the conflict in Chechnya was part of the global wat against terrorism."6

In 1991, the mercurial Chechen leader, Dzhokar Dudayev - previously a general in the Soviet air force - rebelled against Moscow and declated Chechnya independent. Under his rule, "Chechnya became an epicenter of financial scams

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and illegal trade in oil and contraband, and a safe haven for criminals from all over Russia," while violence against ethnic Russians in the territory rose alarmingly.7

The bombastic, alcoholic Yeltsin countered by seeking to undermine the Chechen regime from within.8 When a Russian-led assault on Grozny, using Chechen forces opposed to Dudayev, ended in a shambles, the Russians reacted with fury. In December 1994, 40,000 Russian troops - mostly ill-trained conscripts - were sent into Chechnya. Yeltsin apparently believed the declaration of his defense minister, Pavel Grachev, that the territory could be conquered "in two hours by a single paratrooper regiment."9 Two yeats later, Russian forces were still there.

The first assault on Grozny was disastrous. Russian tank columns and troop formations were torn apart by hit-and-run rebel attacks. The Russians responded with "the heaviest artillery bombardment that anyone had seen since the Second World War."10 "Indiscriminate strikes became the preferred mode of warfare against a ground war the Russian armed forces were unlit to win."11 Numerous towns and villages were pulverized. Tens of thousands of Chechen residents were killed, overwhelmingly civilians. In a grim irony, many of the victims were ethnic Russians who lacked the contacts in the countryside that allowed many Chechen Muslims to find refuge. When the Russians finally claimed control of Grozny in March, visiting journalists marveled at "the sheer scale of the destruction," with the city "not only in ruins but. . . destroyed [to] its very foundations." Even years later, the heart of the city remained "a desert scene of rubble and burnt-out buildings."12

To the extent that Russians discriminated in their killing, the strategy was predominantly gendercidal (see Chapter 13). "I killed a lot," a Russian soldier returned from Chechnya told Maura Reynolds of the Los Angeles Times:

I wouldn't touch women or children, as long as they didn't fire at me. But I would kill all the men I met during mopping-up operations. I didn't feel sorry for them one bit. They deserved it. I wouldn't even listen to the pleas or see the tears of their women when they asked me to spare their men. I simply took them aside and killed them.13

In keeping with such strategies, mass round-ups and detentions of Chechen men were staged, with detainees passed through "filtration camps" run by the Russian military and FSB (formerly the KGB). Torture was frequent in the camps, and "disappearances" rampant.

All of this occurred in Europe; yet few Europeans, or others, raised their voices in protest. Russia, even in its post-Soviet incarnation, is a great power, and a nuclear one. European governments have been more intetested in courting it and exploiting its immense resources than in ctiticizing "internal" practices, even genocidal ones. The response of the Clinton and Bush administrations was likewise "woefully late and pitifully restrained."14



Figure 5A.1 February 2000: Russian troops view a mass grave filled with executed Chechens, one of many that dotted the landscape during the brutal Chechen wars.

Source: Natalia Medvedeva/Wikimedia Commons.

Destructive as the war was, it was just the first round. In 1996, remarkably, rebel forces reoccupied Grozny, holding it for weeks against a sustained and again indiscriminate Russian counter-attack. For the Russian public, this was the final straw. Public opposition to the slaughter (albeit mainly to the deaths of Russian conscripts) drove Yeltsin's approval tarings to dismally low levels. The Russian media enjoyed their most brilliant moment since 1917, with press reports and TV investigations carefully documenting the Chechen chaos. Finally, Russian forces pulled out in defeat, leaving the territory still nominally part of Russia, but effectively in the hands of Chechen rebels and warlords.

With the economy and infrastructure virtually destroyed, Chechnya again lapsed into lawlessness. In September 1999, Yeltsin, now a lame duck, sent the troops back in. His policy was enetgetically continued and expanded by Vladimir Putin, who pungently pledged to "corner the bandits in the shithouse and wipe them out."15 Putin calculated that a hard line on Chechnya would help him consolidate his power and appeal to voters in future elections.16

Under Putin, the Russian tactics of the previous conflict were revived, from indiscriminate bombardment to filtration camps. Again adult men wete special targets. Human Rights Watch stated that "every adult Chechen male" was treated "as if he were a rebel fighter."17 Chechen women were also assaulted and raped on an increasing scale.18

Once again, Russian forces became mired in an intractable guerrilla war. As the quagmire deepened, Putin sought to indigenize the war. "Chechenization" became the new buzzword, and achieved some success from the Russian



perspective. As this book went to press, a measure of coerced stability prevailed under a young, carefully groomed former rebel, Ramzan Kadyrov, whose strategy was to "get down and dirty, fighting — and winning - Chechen style":

Those methods have been simple, violent and effective. At their cote is the so-called Kadytovtsy, a private irregular army of close to 10,000 former rebels who wear US military fatigues and black T shirts with a portrait of their leader Ramzan. Their violence is less indiscriminate than the Russians' — instead of emptying whole quarters of villages in search of guerrillas, for instance, Kadyrov's men target single households — but more extreme. Tactics commonly include kidnapping family members as a way of persuading outlaws to give themselves up, according to the human rights group Memorial.19

The tactics also appear to include targeted killing of young men, also a long-established aspect of the "Chechen style." A defector, Umar Israilov -subsequently murdered — "described many brutal acts by Mr. Kadyrov and his subordinates, including executions of illegally detained men" and the sodom­izing "by a prominent police officer" of "another prisoner," who was then "at Mr. Kadyrov's order put to death."20 Freedom House in 2009 selected Kadyrov's regime as one of the most repressive in the world - one of only two substate tetritories, along with Tibet, so designated.21

As for the rebels, their own actions, within Chechnya and beyond, grew more indiscriminately violent and terroristic. In 2004 alone, hundreds of school­children died in the town of Beslan in neighboring Ingushetia, when Russian forces stormed a school seized by rebels. Two civilian passenger planes downed by female Chechen rebels - the so-called "Black Widows"22 — added to the casualty count. The toll among Chechen civilians, though, was much greater — probably approaching 100,000 as of early 2005, though killings have been selective since then. Evaluating Russia's overall record, Chechnya specialist Matthew Evangelista considered it "plausible" that Russia had "violated the Genocide Convention for 'acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial, or religious group."'23 In 2001, the US Holocaust Memorial Museum's Committee on Conscience "placed Chechnya on its Genocide Alert list, which had been created to sound warnings of potential genocides"; it remained there as of early 2010.24

If Russian repression has remained a constant theme, so has the "mixture of eager complicity and mute acquiescence" that the outside world has displayed.25 Aftet September 11, 2001, Putin's regime positioned itself as an ally in the "war on terror" and a partner in the new globalized economy. This ptovided camouflage and justification for Russia's campaign against Chechen Muslims, as it does under Putin's successor, Dimitry Medvedev. As Lindsey Hilsum has written, "Chechnya is a shameful example of western leaders refusing to con­front another government on human rights abuses and war crimes because, in



the end, strategic and political issues matter more. Chechnya is complex and dangerous and miserable, and we just don't care enough to tty to make a difference."26


Arkady Babchenko, One Soldier's War. New York: Grove Press, 2008. Grim memoir by a Russian soldier who fought in both Chechen wars.

Matthew Evangelista, The Chechen Wars: Will Russia Go the Way of the Soviet Union? Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 2002. Astute political analysis, with a chapter on "War Crimes and Russia's International Standing."

Carlotta Gall and Thomas de Waal, Chechnya: Calamity in the Caucasus. New York: New York University Ptess, 1998. Journalistic account of the first Chechen war.

Emma Gilligan, Terror in Chechnya: Russia and the Tragedy of Civilians in War. Princeton, NJ: Ptinceton Univetsity Press, 2010. The best study of the human tights dimension of the second Chechen war and its aftermath.

Human Rights Watch, Swept Under: Torture, Forced Disappearances, and Extrajudicial Killings during Sweep Operations in Chechnya. February 2002. Available at /en/reports/2002/02/02/swept-under. HRW report on atrocities in the renewed war against Chechens.

Anna Politkovskaya, A Small Corner of Hell: Dispatches from Chechnya. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2003. Account by a Russian investigative journalist, assassinated in 2006. See also A Dirty War: A Russian Reporter in Chechnya.


1 On the sttuggle to survive aftet deportation, see Michela Pohl, '"It Cannot Be That Our Graves Will Be Here': The Survival of Chechen and Ingush Deportees in Kazakhstan, 1944-1957'," Journal of 'Genocide Research, 4: 3 (2002), pp. 401-30.

2 See Birgit Brauer, "Chechens and the Survival of Their Cultural Identity in Exile," Journal of Genocide Research, 4: 3 (2002), pp. 387-400.

3 Matk Levene, Genocide in the Age of the Nation State, Vol. 2: The Rise of the "West and the Coming of Genocide (London: LB. Tauris, 2005), p. 299.

4 Tony Wood, "The Case for Chechnya," New Left Review, 30 (November-December 2004), p. 10.

5 David Remnick, Resurrection: The Struggle for a New Russia (New York: Vintage, 1998), pp. 266, 271. Likewise, during the second Chechen war, "Chechens were dehumanized with racially bigoted language that depicted the enemy as 'blacks' (chernye), 'bandits' (banditi), 'terrorists' (terroristi), 'cockroaches' (tarakany), and 'bedbugs' (klopi)" - all terms familiar to a student of genocidal propaganda. Emma Gilligan, Terror in Chechnya: Russia and the Tragedy of Civilians in War (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2010), p. 6.



6 Gregory Feifer, The Great Gamble: The Soviet War in Afghanistan (New York: HarperPerennial, 2009), p. 276.

7 Nabi Abdullaev, "Chechnya Ten Years Later," Current History (Octobet 2004), p. 332.

8 President Dudayev was assassinated by a Russian missile in April 1996; his suc­cessor, Asian Maskhadov, was killed in March 2005.

9 Grachev quoted in Remnick, Resurrection, p. 278.

10 Carlotta Gall and Thomas de Waal, Chechnya: Calamity in the Caucasus (New York: New York University Ptess, 1998), p. 219.

11 Gilligan, Terror in Chechnya, p. 26.

12 Ibid., p. 227.

13 Maura Reynolds, "War Has No Rules for Russian Forces Battling Chechen Rebels," The Los Angeles Times, Septembet 17, 2000.

14 Gilligan, Terror in Chechnya, p. 26.

15 Remnick, Resurrection, p. 284.

16 See the trenchant analysis of Putin's policies, and their underlying motivations, in Wood, "The Case for Chechnya," pp. 27-31.

17 Human Rights Watch cited in Geoffrey York, "Russians Accused of Executing Chechens," The Globe and Mail, February 14, 2000.

18 See "Serious Violations of Women's Human Rights in Chechnya," Human Rights Watch backgrounder, January 2002, /en/news/2002/01/09/ russian-federation-setious-violations-womens-human-rights-chechnya.

19 Owen Mathews and Anna Nemtsova, "Ramzan's World," Newsweek, September

25, 2006, /id/45665. See also Valery Dzutsev, "Moscow Sees Chechnya's Kadyrov as a Silver Bullet for the North Caucasus," Jamestown, org, May 22, 2009. For a further flavor of Kadyrov's tactics, see the Human Rights Watch report, '"What Your Children Do Will Eouch Upon You': Punitive House-Burning in Chechnya," July 2, 2009, /en/reports/2009/07/ 02/what-your-children-do-will-touch-upon-you.

20 C.J. Chivets, "Slain Exile Detailed Chechen Rulet's Systematic Cruelty," The New York Times, January 31, 2009, /2009/02/01/world / europe/01 torture.html.

21 Freedom House, "Freedom in the World 2009: Freedom Retreats for Third Year" (press release), January 12, 2009.

22 See Chris Stephen, "The Black Widows of Chechnya," The Scotsman, September 17, 2004, /chechnya/The-Black-Widows-of-Chechnya. 2564759.jp.

23 Matthew Evangelista, The Chechen Wars: Will Russia Go the Way of the Soviet Union? (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 2002), p. 142; see also p. 177. Emma Gilligan echoes the judgment, wtiting: "If we look at the conflict in Chechnya from the vantage point of the 1948 UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, the acts committed by the Russian armed forces might well be framed under article 2 of the convention." Gilligan, Terror in Chechnya, p. 9.

24 Gilligan, Terror in Chechnya, p. 1; see also United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, "Who Is at Risk? Chechnya, Russia," /genocide/ take_action/atrisk/region/chechnya-russia/. As justification for the alett, the USHMM cited the "past persecution of Chechens as a people," "the demonization of Chechens as a gtoup within Russian society," and "the level of violence directed against Chechen civilians by Russian forces."

25 Wood, "Ehe Case for Chechnya," p. 36.

26 Lindsey Hilsum, "The Conflict the West Always Ignores," New Statesman, January

26, 2004.


The Jewish Holocaust


The genocide of European Jews - which many scholars and others call simply "the Holocaust"1 - "is perhaps the one genocide of which every educated person has heard."2 Between 1941 and 1945, five to six million Jews were systematically mur­dered by the Nazi regime, its allies, and its surrogates in the Nazi-occupied territories.3 Yet despite the extraordinary scale and intensity of the genocide, its prominence in recent decades was far from preordained. The Second World War killed upwards of fifty million people in all, and attitudes following the Nazi defeat tended to mirror those during the war, when Western leaders and publics generally refused to ascribe special urgency to the Jewish catastrophe. Only with the Israeli capture of Adolf Eichmann, the epitome of the "banality of evil" in Hannah Arendt's famous phrase, and his trial in Jerusalem in 1961, did the Jewish Shoah (catastrophe) begin to entrench itself as the paradigmatic genocide of human history. Even today, in the evaluation of genocide scholar Yehuda Bauer, "the impact of the Holocaust is growing, not diminishing."4

This impact is expressed in the diverse debates about the Holocaust. Among the questions asked are: How could the systematic murder of millions of helpless individuals have sprung from one of the most developed and "civilized" of Western states? What are the links to European anti-semitism? How central a figure was Adolf Hitler in the genesis and unfolding of the slaughtet? What part did "ordinary men" and "ordinary Germans" play in the extermination campaign? How extensive was Jewish resistance? What was the tole of the Allies (notably Britain, France, the USSR, and the United States), both before and during the Second World War, in abandoning



Jews to destruction at Nazi hands? And what is the relationship between the Jewish Holocaust and the postwar state of Israel? This chapter addresses these issues in its latet sections, while also alighting on the debate ovet the alleged "uniqueness" of the Shoah.


Until the latet nineteenth century, Jews were uniquely stigmatized within the European social hierarchy, often through stereotypical motifs that endure, in places, to the present.5 Medieval Christianity "held the Jews to violate the moral order of the world. By rejecting Jesus, by allegedly having killed him, the Jews stood in defiant opposition to the otherwise universally accepted conception of God and Man, denigrating and defiling, by their very existence, all that is sacred. As such, Jews came to represent symbolically and discursively much of the evil in the world."6 Jews — especially male Jews - were reviled as "uprooted, troublesome, malevolent, shiftless" (see pp. 488-90)7

The Catholic Church, and later the Protestant offshoot founded by the virulently anti-semitic Martin Luther, assailed Jews as "thitsty bloodhounds and murderers of all Christendom."8 The most primitive and powerful myth was the so-called "blood

tn cr ftufcuu wvccnt© poftca fhcc. . r_rocnti<mcm*__ m>m

Figure 6.1 Jews were scapegoated and persecuted by many Chrisrian regimes and populations in Europe. A medieval manuscript depicts a mass burning of Jews in 1349 as "punishment" for supposedly colluding with demonic forces to bring the Black Death (bubonic plague) to European shores.

Source: H.H. Ben-Sasson, ed., A History of the Jewish /V0/>/e7Wikimedia Commons.



$tt mman fet whnWWwn 6tctt«* Stniwff hi

Figure 6.2 TheNazis revived and vigorously inculcated anti­semitic stereotypes. This fronr page of rhe propaganda newspaper Der Stunner (The Attacker) depicts innocent Aryan womanhood being rirually murdered (Ritualmord) and drained of blood by the demonic Jewish male.

Source: St. Brendan School Network.

Die Jadcn find tmser Unglttck

libel": the claim that Jews seized and murdered Gentile childten in order to use their blood in the baking of ceremonial bread for the Passover celebration.9 Fueled by this and other fantasies, anti-Jewish^cgrowi'- localized campaigns of violence, killing, and repression - scarred European Jewish history. At various points, Jews who refused to convert to Christianity were also rounded up and expelled, most notoriously from Spain and Portugal in 1492.10

The rise of modernity and the nation-state recast traditional anti-semitism in new and contradictory guises. (The term "anti-semitism" is a product of this era, coined by the German Wilhelm Marr in 1879.) On one hand, Jews were viewed as enemies of modernity. Cloisteted in the cultural isolation of ghetto (to which previous generations had consigned them), they could nevet be truly part of the nation-state, which was rapidly emerging as the fulcrum of modern identity.11 On the other hand, for sectots suspicious of of threatened by change, Jews were seen as dangerous agents of modernity: as key players in oppressive economic institutions; as urban, cosmopolitan elements who threatened the unity and identity of the Volk (people).

It would be misleading, however, to present European history as one long cam­paign of discrimination and repression against Jews. For several centuries Jews in Eastef n Europe "enjoyed a period of comparative peace, tranquility and the flowering of Jewish religious life."12 They were even more prominent, and valued, in Muslim Spain. Moteover, ideologies of nationalism sometimes followed the liberal "melting-pot" motif exemplified by the United States. Those Jews who sought integration with their societies could be accepted. The late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries are seen as something of a golden age for Jews in France, Britain, and Germany, even while some two-and-a-half million Jews were fleeing pogroms in tsarist Russia.

Germany was widely viewed as one of the more tolerant European societies; Prussia, the fit st Get man state to grant citizenship to its Jews, did so as early as 1812. How, then, could Germany turn first to persecuting, then to slaughtering, nearly



two-thirds of the Jews of Europe? Part of the answer lies in the fact that, although German society was in many ways tolerant and progressive, German politics was never liberal or democratic, in the manner of both Britain and Fiance.13 Moreover, German society was deeply destabilized by defeat in the First World War, and by the imposition of a humiliating peace settlement at Versailles in 1919. Germany was forced to shoulder full blame for the outbreak of the "Great War." It lost its overseas colonies, along with some of its European territories; its armed forces were reduced to a fraction of their former size; and onerous reparations were demanded. "A tidal wave of shame and resentment, experienced even by younger men who had not seen military service, swept the nation," wrote Richard Plant. "Many people tried to digest the bitter defeat by searching furiously for scapegoats."14 These dark currents ran beneath the political order, the Weimar Republic, established after the war. Democratic but fragile, it presided over economic chaos - first, the hyperinflation of 1923, which saw the German mark slip to 4.2 trillion to the dollar, and then the widespread unemployment of the Great Depression, beginning in 1929.

The result was political extremism. Its prime architect and beneficiary was the NSDAP (the National Socialist ot "Nazi" party), founded by Adolf Hitler and sundry alienated colleagues. Hitler, a decorated First World War veteran and failed artist from Vienna, assumed the task of resurrecting Germany and imposing its hegemony on all Europe. This vision would lead to the deaths of tens of millions of people. But it was underpinned in Hitler's mind by an epic hatred of Jews - "these black parasites of the nation," as he called them in Mein Ka?npf(My Struggle), the tirade he penned while in prison following an abortive coup attempt in 1923.15

As the failed putsch indicated, Hitler's path to power was far from direct. By 1932, he seemed to many to have passed his peak. The Nazis won only a minority of parliamentary seats in that year's elections; mote Germans voted for parties of the Left than of the Right. But divisions between the Socialists and Communists made the Nazis the largest single party in the Reichstag, and allowed Hitler to become Chancellor in January 1933.

Once installed in power, the Nazis ptoved unstoppable. Within three months, they had seized "total control of [the] German state, abolishing its federalist structure, dismantling democratic government and outlawing political parties and trade unions." The Enabling Act of March 23, 1933 gave Hitler "carte blanche to terrorize and neutralize all effective political opposition."16 Immediately theteaftet, the Nazis' persecutory stance towards Jews became plain. Within a few months, Jews saw their businesses placed undet Nazi boycott; their mass dismissal from hospitals, the schools, and the civil setvice; and public book-burnings of Jewish and other "degenerate" wotks. The Nutemberg Laws of 1935 stripped Jews of citizenship and gave legal shape to the Nazis' face-based theories: intermarriage or sexual intercourse between non-Jews and Jews was prohibited.

With the Nuremberg edicts, and the threat of worse measures looming, increasing numbers of Jews fled abroad. The abandonment of homes and capital in Germany meant penury abroad — the Nazis would allow only a fraction of one's wealth to be exported. The unwillingness of the outside world to accept Jewish refugees meant that many more Jews longed to leave than actually could. Hundreds of those who remained committed suicide as Nazi rule imposed upon them a "social death."17



Figure 6.3 "Germans pass by the broken shop window of a Jewish-owned business that was desttoyed during Kristallnacht," Berlin, Novembet 10, 1938. While many Germans strongly supported the Nazis' anti-semitic policies, many also bridled at the violence of the "Night of Broken Glass," and the "un-German" disorder it rypified. The Nazis monitored public opinion carefully, and such sentiments ptompted them, when the time came to impose a "final solution of the Jewish problem," ro "outsource" rhe mass extermination process ro the occupied territories in Poland and the USSR.

Source. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum/National Archives and Records Administration.

The persecution mounted further with the Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass) on November 9-10, 1938, "a proto-genocidal assault"18 that targeted Jewish proper­ties, tesidences, and petsons. Several dozen Jews were killed outright, billions ol deutschmarks in damage was inflicted, and some 30,000 male Jews were rounded up and imprisoned in concentration camps. Now attempts to flee increased dramat­ically, but this occurred just as Hitler was driving Europe towards crisis and world war, and as Western countries all but closed their frontiers to Jewish would-be emigrants.




In recent years, a great deal of scholarly energy has been devoted to Hitler's and the Nazis' evolving relationship with the German public. Two broad conclusions may be drawn from the work of Robert Gellately, Eric Johnson, and David Bankier - and also from one of the most revelatory personal documents of the Nazi era, the diaries of Victor Klemperer (1881-1960). (Klemperer was a Jew from the German city of Dresden who survived the Nazi period, albeit under conditions of privation and persecution, thanks to his marriage to an "Aryan" woman.)

The first insight is that Nazi rule, and the isolation of the Jews for eventual expulsion and extermination, counted on a broad wellspring of popular support. This was based on Hitler's pledge to return Germany to social order, economic stability, and world-power status. The basic thesis of Gellately s book, Backing Hitler: Consent and Coercion in Nazi Germany, is that "Hitler was largely successful in getting the backing, one way or another, of the great majority of citizens." Moreover, this was based on the anathematizing of whole classes of citizens: "the Germans generally turned out to be proud and pleased that Hitler and his henchmen were putting away certain kinds of people who did not fit in, or who were regarded as 'outsiders,' 'asocials,' 'useless eaters,' or 'criminals.'"19

Victor Klemperer's diaries provide an "extraordinarily acute analysis of the day-to-day workings of German life under Hitler" and "a singular chronicle of German society's progressive Nazification."20 Klemperer oscillated between a conviction that German society had become thoroughly Nazified, and the ironic conviction (given his expulsion from the body politic) that the Getmany he loved would triumph. "I certainly no longet believe that [the Nazi regime] has enemies inside Germany," he wrote in May 1936. "The majority of the people is content, a small group accepts Hitler as the lesser evil, no one really wants to be rid of him. . . . And all are afraid for their livelihood, their life, all are such terrible cowards." Yet as late as March 1940, with the Second World War well underway, "I often ask myself where all the wild anti-Semitism is. For my part I encounter much sympathy, people help me out, but fearfully of coutse." He noted numerous examples of verbal contempt, but also a surprising number of cases where colleagues and acquaintances went out of their way to greet him warmly, and even police officers who accorded him treatment that was "very courteous, almost comically courteous." "Every Jew has his Aryan angel," one of his fellow inmates in an overcrowded communal house told him in 1941. But by then Klemperer had been stripped of his job, pension, house, and typewriter; he would shortly lose his right to indulge even in his cherished cigarettes. In September 1941, he was forced to put on a yellow Star of David identifying him as a Jew. It left him feeling "shattered": nearly a year later, he would describe the star as "torture - I can resolve a hundred times to pay no attention, it remains torture."21 Hundreds of miles to the east, the program of mass killing was gearing up, as Klemperer and other Jews — not to mention ordinary Germans — were increasingly aware.

If Jews came to be the prime targets of Nazi demonization and marginalization, they were not the only ones, and for some years they were not necessarily the main ones. Communists (depicted as closely linked to Jewry) and other political opponents, handicapped and senile Germans, homosexuals, Roma (Gypsies), Polish intellectuals,



vagrants, and other "asocial" elements all occupied the attention of the Nazi authorities during this period, and were the victims of "notorious achievements in human destruction" exceeding the persecution of the Jews until 1941.22 Of these gtoups, political opponents (especially communists) and the handicapped and senile were most at risk of extreme physical violence, torture, and murder. "The political and syndical [trade union] left," wrote Arno Mayer, "remained the principal target of brutal repression well past the time of the definitive consolidation of the new regime in July—August 1934."23 In the slaughter of the handicapped, meanwhile, the Nazis first "discovered that it was possible to murder multitudes," and that "they could easily recruit men and women to do the killings."24 Box 6a explores the fate of political oppositionists and the handicapped under Nazi rule in greater detail.


I also took patt in the day before yesterday's huge mass killing [of Jews in Belotussia] . . . When the first ttuckload [of victims] arrived my hand was slightly trembling when shooting, but one gets used to this. When the tenth load arrived I was already aiming more calmly and shot securely at the many women, childten and infants. . . . Infants were flying in a wide circle through the air and we shot them still in flight, before they fell into the pit and into the watet. Let's get rid of this scum that tossed all of Europe into the war . . .

Walter Mattner, a Viennese clerk recruited for service in the Einsatzgruppen during the "Holocaust by Bullets"; letter to his wife (!), October 5, 1941

Between the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939 and the onset of full-scale extermination in mid-1941, the Nazis were busy consolidating and confining the Jews under their control. The core policy in the occupied territories of the East was ghettoization: confinement of Jews in overcrowded neighborhoods of major cities. One could argue that with ghettoization came genocidal intent: "The Nazis sought to create inhuman conditions in the ghettos, where a combination of obscene overcrowding, deliberate starvation . . . and outbreaks of typhus and cholera would reduce Jewish numbers through 'natural wastage.'"25 Certainly, the hundreds of thousands of Jews who died in the ghettos are numbered among the victims of the Holocaust.

In the two years following the German invasion of the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, some 1.8 million Jews were rounded up and murdered, mostly by point-blank rifle fite, in what the Catholic priest Patrick Desbois has dubbed "the Holocaust by bullets." (For mofe on Desbois's activism and on this phase of the Holocaust, see Chapter 14.) The direct genocidal agents included the so-called Einsatzgruppen, four death-squad battalions - some 3,000 men in all - who followed behind the regular German army.26 They were accompanied by SS formations and police units filled out with middle-aged fecruits plucked from civilian duty in Germany - such as the "ordinary men" of Reserve Police Battalion 101, studied by both historian Christopher Browning and political scientist Daniel Goldhagen (see "Further Study"; Figures 6.10-6.11). Most of the killings occurred before the machinery of



industrial killing was erected in the death camps of Occupied Poland in spring 1942. They continued mercilessly thereafter, hunting down the last Jews still in flight or hiding. Bruno Mayrhofer, a German gendarme in Ukraine, reported that

On 7 May 1943, 21.00 hours, following a confidential report [n.b. probably by a Ukrainian collaborator], 8 Jews, that is 3 men, 2 women and 3 children were flushed out of a well-camouflaged hole in the ground in an open field not far from the post here, and all of them were ["]shot while trying to escape ["]. This case concerned Jews from Pohrebyshche who had lived in this hole in the ground for almost a year. The Jews did not have anything else in their possession except their tatteted clothing. . . . The burial was carried out immediately on the spot.27

The role of the regular German army, or Wehrmacht, in this eruption of full-scale genocide was noted at the Nuremberg ttials of 1945-46 (see Chapter 15). However, in part because the Western allies preferred to view the Wehrmacht as gentlemanly opponents, and subsequently because the German army was reconstructed as an ally by both sides in the Cold Wat, a myth was cultivated that the Wehrmacht had acted "honorably" in the occupied territories. Scholarly inquiry has now demonstrated that this is "a wholly false picture of the historical reality."28 Permeated to the core by the Nazis' racist ideology, the Wehrmacht was key to engineering the mass murder of

Figure 6.4 Soviet Jews gathered in a ravine prior to their mass execurion bv Einsatzgruppen killing units during the "Holocaust by Bullets," 1941-42.

Source. Insrytut Pamieci Narodowej/US Holocaust Memorial Museum.



3.3 million Soviets seized as prisonets-of-wat (see Box 6a).29 The Wehrmacht was also central to the perpetration of the Jewish Holocaust. The Einsatzgruppen, wrote Hannah Arendt, "needed and got the close coopetation of the Armed Forces; indeed, relations between them were usually 'excellent' and in some instances 'affectionate' (herzlich, literally 'heartfelt'). The generals . . . often lent their own men, ordinary soldiers, to assist in the massacres."30 A great many soldiers "felt drawn to the killing operations . . . standing around as spectators, taking photographs, and volunteering to be shooters."31 As SS Lieutenant-Colonel Katl Kretschmer wrote home in September 1942: "Here in Russia, wherever the German soldier is, no Jew remains."32

Even such intensive slaughter, however, could not eliminate European Jewry in a "reasonable" time. Moreover, the intensely intimate character of murder by gunfire, with human tissue and btain matter spatteting onto the clothes and faces of the Getman killets, began to take a psychological toll. The difficulty was especially pronounced in the case of murders of children and women. While it was relatively easy for executioners to persuade themselves that adult male victims, even unarmed civilians, were dangerous and deserved theit cruel fate, the argument was harder to make for people traditionally viewed as passive, dependent, and helpless.33

To reduce this stress on the killets, and to increase the logistical efficiency of the killing, the industrialized "death camp" with its gas chambers was moved to the fore. Both were refinements of existing institutions and technologies. The death camps grew out of the concentration-camp system the Nazis had established upon first taking power in 1933, while killings by gas were first employed in 1939 as part of the "euthanasia" campaign that was such a vital forerunner of the genocide of the Jews. (It was wound down, in fact, at the precise point that the campaign against European Jews turned to root-and-branch extetmination.) Gas chambets allowed for the desired psychological distance between the killers and their victims: "It was the gas that acted, not the man who pulled the machine-gun trigger."34

Principally by this means, nearly one million Jews were killed at Auschwitz — a complex of three camps and numerous satellites, of which Auschwitz II (Birkenau) operated as the main killing center. Zyklon B (cyanide gas in crystal form) was overwhelmingly the means of murder at Auschwitz. Nearly two million more Jews died by gas, shootings, beatings, and starvation at the other "death camps" in occupied Poland, which were distinguished from the vastly larger Nazi network of concentration camps by their core function of extermination. These death camps were Chelmno (200,000 Jews slaughtered); Sobibor (260,000); Belzec (500,000); Treblinka (800,000, mostly from the Polish capital Watsaw); and Majdanek (130,000).35

It would be misleading to distinguish too sharply between the "death camps," where gas was the normal means of extermination, and the broader netwotk of camps where "destruction through work" (the Nazis' term) was the norm.36 Killings of Jews reached exterminatory levels in the lattet institutions as well. As Daniel Goldhagen has argued, "after the beginning of 1942, the camp system in genetal was lethal for Jews," and well over a million died outside the death camps, killed by statvation, disease, and slave labot.37 Perhaps 500,000 more, in Raul Hilberg's estimate, suc­cumbed in the Jewish ghettos, themselves a kind of concentration camp. Finally, tens of thousands died on forced marches, often in the dead of winter, as Allied forces closed in.38


Map 6.1 The Holocaust in Europe

Source: Map by Dennis Nilsson/Wikimedia Commons.


Figure 6.5 The haunting ruins of the Cremarorium III death factory at Auschwitz II-Birkenau outside Oswiecim, Poland, dynamited by the Nazis just before the camp was liberated by Soviet soldiets in January 1945. The view is looking down the steps which victims, mostly Jews transported from all over Europe, were forced ro rread en route to the undressing room within. They were then murdered in an underground gas chamber (at top left, not clearly visible), and cremated in ovens under the (now-collapsed) roof-and-chimney complex at the rear. More rhan one million children, women, and men — overwhelmingly Jews, but also Roma/Gypsies and Soviet prisoners-of-war - were murdered at Auschwitz-Bitkenau. The site has become synonymous with the Jewish Holocaust and modern genocide.

Source: Author's photo, November 2009.



Figures 6.6—6.9 Four indelible images of the Jewish Holocaust. Top left: A Jewish man is murdered by pistol fire at a death pit outside Vinnytsia, Ukraine, during the "Holocaust by Bullets" of 1941-42. Top right: Neat Novgorod, Russia, in 1942, a German soldier takes aim at civilian victims in the killing fields; the rifles of othef members of the execution squad are partially visible at left (note also the victim - wounded? killed? - lying by the soldier's right foot). Bottom left: Aftet the Warsaw Ghetto uprising of January—May 1943, Jewish survivors are rounded up for Transport and extermination. Bottom right: In the final stages of the Holocaust, the death factories worked overtime to "process" victims, above all Jews, even when this divetted resources from the Nazi war effort. A member of a Sonderkommando corpse-disposal unit in Auschwitz II-Birkenau (see Figure 6.5) surreptitiously photographed rhe burning of rhe bodies of gassed victims, probably Jews from the last major genocidal roundup in Hungary, in an open pit near Cremarorium V (May 1944).

Source: Wikimedia Commons.



Notoriously, the extermination system continued to function even when it impeded the war effort. In March 1944, the Nazis intervened to occupy Hungary as a bulwark against advancing Soviet forces. Adolf Eichmann promptly arrived to supervise the rounding up for slaughter of the country's Jews. Thousands were saved by the imaginative intervention of Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg (see Chapter 10). But some 400,000 were packed off to be gassed at Auschwitz-Birkenau and other death camps - despite the enormous strain this imposed on the tail system and the Nazis' dwindling human and material resources. It seemed that the single-minded devotion to genocidal desttuction outweighed even the Nazis' desire for self-preservation.


Nechama Epstein was a Polish Jew from Warsaw who was just 18 years old when she "and her family were herded into the city's ghetto together with 350,000 other Jews. "39 One of the few survivors of the Auschwitz death camp, she was interviewed after the war by David P. Boder, an American psychologist who published a book entitled / Did Not Interview the Dead. However, Boder chose not to include his conversation with Epstein; her testimony did not see the light of day until it was excerpted in Donald Niewyk's chapter for the Century of Genocide anthology. Her account, Niewyk noted, "reveals a remarkable breadth of experiences, including survival in ghettos, slave labor camps, and extermination centers."40

Epstein described the grim privations of life in the Warsaw ghetto - the very ghetto that would rise up so heroically against the Germans in early 1943, and be crushed. "It was very bad," she remembered. "We had nothing to sell any more. Eight people were living on a kilo of beets a day. . . . We did not have any more strength to walk. . . . Every day there were other dead, small children, bigger children, older people. All died of a hunger death."

Epstein was caught up in the mass round-up of Jews to be shipped to the exter­mination center at Treblinka in September 1942. Packed into a single cattle-car with 200 other Jews, she passed an entire night before the train began to move: "We lay one on top of the other. . . . One lay suffocating on top of another. ... We could do nothing to help ourselves. And then real death began." Tormented by thirst and near-asphyxiation, Jews struggled with each other for a snatch of air or any moisture. "Mothers were giving the children urine to drink."

Some enterprising prisoners managed to saw a hole in the cattle-car, and Epstein, among others, leapt out. With the help of a Polish militia member, she found her way to the Miedryrzec ghetto, where she passed the next eight months. "Every four weeks there were new deportations." The first of these she survived by hiding in an



attic and eating raw beets. "I did not have anything to drink. The first snow fell then, so I made a hole in the roof and pulled in the hand a little snow. And this I licked. And this I lived on."

Her luck ran out at the time of the last deportation. She was led away, to a transport and apparently her doom, on "a beautiful summer day" in 1943. This time the destination was Majdanek, another of the extermination centers in occupied Poland. There, "We were all lined up. There were many who were shot [outright],. . . The mothers were put separately, the children separately, the men separately, the women separately. . . . The children and the mothers were led to the crematory. All were burned. . . . We never laid eyes on them again."

She spent two months at Majdanek. "I lived through many terrible things. We had nothing to eat. We were so starved. .. . The food consisted of two hundred grams of bread a day, and a little soup of water with nettles." A German SS woman entered the barracks every day "at six in the morning . . . beating everybody."

In July 1943, Epstein was shipped off to Auschwitz. By good fortune, she was consigned to a work camp rather than to immediate extermination in the Birkenau gas chambers. "We worked carrying stones on barrows, large stones. To eat they did not give us. We were beaten terribly" by German women guards: "They said that every day they must kill three, four Jews." She fell sick, and survived her time in the hospital only by hiding from the regular round-ups that carted off ill inmates to the crematoria. "Christian women were lying there, so I climbed over to the Christians, into their beds, and there I always had the good fortune to hide."

In October, the entire sick-ward was emptied. "There was a girl eighteen years old, and she was crying terribly. She said that she is still so young, she wants to live. . . . [But] nothing helped. They were all taken away." When she emerged from the ward, she saw the Auschwitz crematory burning in the night: "We saw the entire sky red [from] the glow of the fire. Blood was pouring on the sky." But Epstein again survived the selection for the Birkenau extermination center. She was sent back to Majdanek, where she witnessed SS and Gestapo killers forcing male inmates to dig mass graves, then lining up hundreds of female inmates to be shot. Over the course of a further eight months at Majdanek, she remained among the handful of inmates - several hundred only - spared gassing and cremation.

Epstein was eventually sent to a forced-labor center: Plaszow, near Krakow (the same camp featured in Steven Spielberg's film Schindler's List). By late 1944, the Soviets were approaching Plaszow. "We were again dragged away. I was the second time taken to Auschwitz." After that, she was dispatched to Bergen-Belsen; then to Aschersleben in Germany proper, where she labored alongside Dutch, Yugoslav, and French prisoners-of-war.



American forces were now closing in from the West. Epstein was conscripted into a death march alongside 500 other inmates. "Only women. Two hundred fell en route." At last, after a march of more than 250 kilometers, she reached Theresienstadt in Czechoslovakia. This had long served as a "model" detention facility for the Nazis - the only one to which Red Cross representatives were admitted. "We were completely in tatters. . . . We were very dirty. . . . We were badly treated. We were beaten. They screamed at us. 'Accursed swine! You are filthy. What sort of people are you?'" Epstein and her fellow inmates now looked like the "subhumans" the Germans had been indoctrinated to expect.

On the very last day of the European war, May 8,1945, Theresienstadt was liberated by Russian forces. "We didn't believe it. . . . We went out, whoever was able. .. . We went out with great joy, with much crying. . . .

"But now there began a real death. People who had been starved for so many years. . . . The Russians had opened all the German storehouses, all the German stores, and they said, 'Take whatever you want.' People who had been badly starved, they shouldn't have eaten. . . . And the people began to eat, to eat too much, greedily. . . . Hundreds of people fell a day. . .. People crawled over the dead." Typhus broke out. But Epstein survived. She returned to Warsaw, married, and emigrated to Palestine.


Many of the central themes of the Nazis' attempted desttuction of European Jews have served as touchstones for the broader field of comparative genocide studies. No other genocide has generated remotely as much literature as the Holocaust, including thousands of books and essays. It is important, therefore, to explore some major points of debate, not only for the insights they give into the events described in this chaptet, but for their relevance to genocide studies as a whole.

Intentionalists vs. functionalists

The cote of the debate over the past two decades has revolved around a scholarly tendency generally termed "intentionalist," and a contrasting "functionalist" inter­pretation. Intentionalists, as the word suggests, place primary emphasis on the intention of the Nazis, from the outset, to eliminate European Jews by means that eventually included mass slaughter Such an approach emphasizes the figure of Adolf Hitler and his monomaniacal zeal to eliminate the Jewish "cancer" from Germany and Europe. ("Once I really am in power," Hitler allegedly told a journalist as eatly as 1922, "my first and foremost task will be the annihilation of the Jews.")41 Necessary as well was the anti-semitic dimension of both Nazi ideology and European history.



This fueled the Nazis' animus against the Jews, and also ensured there would be no shortage of "willing executioners" to do the dirty wotk.

The functionalist critique, on the other hand, downplays the significance of Hitler as an individual. It "depicts the fragmentation of decision-making and the blurring of political responsibility," and emphasizes "the disintegration of traditional bureau­cracy into a crooked maze of ill-conceived and uncoordinated task forces," in Colin Tatz's summary.42Also sttessed is the evolutionaty and contingent character of the campaign against the Jews: from legal discrimination, to concentration, to mass murder. In this view, "what happened in Nazi Germany [was] an unplanned 'cumu­lative radicalization' produced by the chaotic decision-making process of a polycratic regime and the 'negative selection' of destmctive elements from the Nazis' ideological arsenal as the only ones that could perpetually mobilize the disparate and otherwise incompatible elements of the Nazi coalition."43

This sometimes acrimonious debate gave way, in the 1990s, to a recognition that the intentionalist and functionalist strands were not irreconcilable. "Both positions in the debate have a number of merits and demerits; both ultimately reflect different forms of historical explanation; and the ground between them is steadily narrowing in favour of a consensus which borrows elements from both lines of argument."4* The raw material for Nazi genocide was present from the start, but required a host of historically contingent features to actualize and maximize it. Michael Shermer and Alex Grobman propose the term "intentional functionalism" to capture this interplay of actors and variables.45

Jewish resistance

The depiction of Jews as having gone meekly to their deaths was first advanced by Raul Hilberg in his 1961 treatise The Destruction of the European fetus, and was then enshrined by Hannah Arendt in her controversial account of Eichmann in Jerusalem. Both Hilberg and Arendt noted the close pre-war coordination between the Jewish Agency (which sought to promote Jewish immigration to Palestine) and the Nazi authorities.46 They also sttessed the role of the Jewish councils (Judenrate), bodies of Jews delegated by the Nazis to oversee the ghettos and the round-ups of Jewish civilians. "The whole truth," as Arendt summarized it, was that without Jewish lead­ership and organization, the Jewish people would have suffered "chaos and plenty of misery" at Nazi hands, "but the total number of victims would hardly have been between four and a half and six million people."47

While it may be true that "the salient chatacteristic of the Jewish community in Europe during 1933-1945 was its step-by-step adjustment to step-by-step destruc­tion,"48 research has undetmined this depiction of Jewish passivity and complicity. Scholars have described how, under horrific circumstances, Jews found ways to resist: going into hiding; struggling to pteserve Jewish culture and creativity; and even launching armed uprisings. (The Warsaw ghetto uprising which peaked in April-May 1943, and the mass escape from the Sobibor death camp in October 1943, are the most famous of these rebellions against the Nazis.)49 Large numbers of Jews also joined the armed forces of the Allies, or fought as partisans behind German lines.



On balance, "it is pure myth that the Jews were merely 'passive,'" wrote Alexander Donat in his memoir The Holocaust Kingdom:

The Jews fought back against their enemies to a degree no other community anywhere in the world would have been capable of were it to find itself similarly beleaguered. They fought against hunger and starvation, against disease, against a deadly Nazi economic blockade. They fought against murderers and against traitors within theit own ranks, and they wete utterly alone in their fight. They were forsaken by God and by man, surrounded by hatred or indifference. Ours was not a romantic war. Although there was much heroism, there was little beauty — much toil and suffering, but no glamour. We fought back on evety front where the enemy attacked — the biological front, the economic front, the propaganda front, the cultural front — with every weapon we possessed.50

Moreover, to the extent that Jews did not mount an effective resistance to their extermination, it is worth noting - as Daniel Goldhagen does — that "millions of Soviet POWs, young military men with organization, and leadership, and initial vigor, died passively in German camps [see Box 6a]. If these men, whose families were not with them, could not mustet themselves against the Get mans, how could the Jews be expected to have done moreT^

The Allies and the churches: Could the Jews have been saved?

The genocide against European Jews could have been avoided, argues the historian Yehuda Bauer, just as the Second World War itself might never have occurred - "had the Great Powers stopped Nazi Germany when it was still weak." But at this point, "nobody knew that a Holocaust was even possible, because nobody knew what a Holocaust was; the Germans had not decided on anything like it in the 1930s."52 The Allies, haunted by the carnage of the First World War, sought accommodation ("appeasement") father than confrontation.

The Evian Conference of July 1938, held in a French town on Lake Geneva, brought together representatives of Western countries to address the Jewish plight. In retrospect, and even at the time, it offered the best chance to alleviate the plight of German Jews, through the simple expedient of opening up Western borders to Jewish refugees. But instead, the West ducked its responsibility. In Germany, Hitler could barely conceal his delight. The rejection of the Jews not only further humiliated Jews themselves, but highlighted the hypocrisy of the West's humanitarian rhetoric.

Turning to the period of full-scale genocide against the Jews, it seems clear that details of the killing operations wete known to the Allies early on. For example, radio communications of the Nazi Ofder Police were intei cepted, alluding to mass murder during the "Holocaust by Bullets." But the Allies were observing from a distance, with Germany at the height of its power on the European continent. The sheet speed of the slaughter also militated against meaningful intervention. "From mid-March 1942 to mid-February 1943," that is, in less than a year, "over one-half the victims of the Jewish Holocaust. . . lost their lives at the hands of Nazi killers."53



It may be argued that the inclusion of targets such as Auschwitz's gas chambers and crematoria in the Allied bombing campaign, along with key transport points for Jews, could have disrupted the Nazi killing machine. The case is especially cogent for the later stages of the wat, as with the genocide of the Hungarian Jews in 1944-45 (when the USSR might also have been able to intervene). But on pre-war evidence, it is hard to believe that, if more effective military measures could have been found, the Allies would have placed saving Jews higher on the list of military priorities — or that doing so would have made much difference.

The role of the Christian churches has also been scrutinized and criticized. Pope Pius XII's placating of the Nazi regime in Germany, and his silence on the persecution of the Jews, are notorious.54 While "the Holy See [Vatican] addressed numerous protests, demands, and inquiries via diplomatic channels both regarding the situation of Catholics in Poland and about the killing of the mentally ill. . . Not one such diplomatic intervention dealt with the overall fate of the Jews." Regarding the fate of "non-Atyans in the territories under German authority," Pius wrote to a German bishop who had protested deportations of Jews: "Unhappily, in the present circum­stances, We cannot offer them effective help othet than through Our prayers."55

Within Germany, the churches did virtually nothing to impede the genocide and indeed strove not to notice it, thereby facilitating it. The Nazis at numerous points demonstrated a keen sensitivity to public opinion, including religious opinion — ptotests from German churches were partly responsible for driving the "euthanasia" campaign underground after 1941. But such protests were not forthcoming from more than a handful of principled religious voices. When it came to defending co-parishioners whom the Nazis deemed of Jewish origin, "both Church and Church members drove away from theit community, from their churches, people with whom they wete united in worship, as one drives away mangy dogs from one's door."56

The most successful examples of resistance to Hitler's genocidal designs for European Jewry came from a handful of Western and Northern European countries that were either neutral or under relatively less oppressive occupation regimes.57 Here, sometimes, extension of the killing campaign could impose political costs that the Nazis were not willing to pay. The most vivid display of public opposition swept up virtually the entire adult population of Denmatk, led by the royal family. When the Nazis decreed the imposition of the Jewish yellow star, non-Jewish Danes adopted it in droves as well, as a powerful gesture of solidarity. The regulation was rescinded. Subsequently, Danes arranged for the evacuation of the majority of the country's Jews to neutral Sweden, where they lived through the rest of the war (see Chapter 10). Sweden, meanwhile, saved "about half of Norwegian Jewry and almost all of the Danish Jews," and in 1944

involved herself more heavily in the heart of Europe, particularly in Budapest, where, along with Switzerland, Portugal, and the Vatican, the Swedish legation issued "protective passports," established safe houses, and generally attempted to restrain the German occupants and their Hungarian puppets from killing more Jews on Hungarian soil in the final houts of the war. Upon the liberation of Jews in concentration camps in the spring of 1945, Sweden accepted thousands of victims for medical treatment and rehabilitation.58



Willing executioners?

Just as scholars have demonstrated increased interest in "micro-histories" of public opinion under the Nazis, and the role of ordinary German citizens in accepting and sustaining the regime, so have questions been raised about the role of different sectors of the German population in the genocide. After decades of research by Raul Hilberg and many others, it is a truism that not only German social and economic elites, but all the professions (up to and including the cletgy, as we have seen), were corrupted or compromised by the Nazi state. In Michael Burleigh's words, an "understanding of the process of persecution [on racial grounds] now includes greater awareness of the culpable involvement of various sections of the professional intelligentsia, such as anthropologists, doctors, economists, historians, lawyers and psychiatrists, in the formation and implementation of Nazi policies."59 For such figures, "the advent of the Nazi regime was coterminous with the onset of'boom' conditions. No one asked or compelled these academics and scientists actively to work on the regime's behalf. Most of them could have said no. In fact, the files of the regime's many agencies bulge with their unsolicited recommendations."60

What of the genocidal participation of otdinary Germans? This subject has spawned the most vigorous debate in Holocaust studies over the past decade, though the illumination has not always matched the heat generated.

At the heart of the controversy was the publication, in 1992 and 1996 respectively, of Christopher Browning's Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland, and Daniel Goldhagen's Hitlers Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust. Both scholars examined the same archives on Reserve Police Battalion 101, which consisted overwhelmingly of Germans drafted from civilian police units (often too old for regular military service). The records described in detail the battalion's killings of helpless, naked Jewish civilians in occupied Poland during 1941-42, and the range of reactions among group members.

In interpreting the records, Browning acknowledged the importance of "the incessant proclamation of German superiority and incitement of contempt and hatred for the Jewish enemy." But he also stressed other factors: "conformity to the group," that is, peer pressure; the desire for praise, prestige, and advancement; and the thteat of marginalization and anathematization in highly dangerous wartime citcumstances. He teferred to "the mutually intensifying effects of war and racism. . . . Nothing helped the Nazis to wage a race war so much as the war itself."61

Goldhagen, dismissing Browning's work, advanced instead an essentially mono-causal thesis. The Jewish Holocaust was the direct outgrowth of "eliminationist" anti-semitism, which by the twentieth century had become "common sense" for Germans. By 1941, "ordinary Germans easily became genocidal killers . . . [and] did so even though they did not have to." They "kill[ed] Jews willingly and often eagerly,"62 though Goldhagen did recognize the importance of Nazi leaders in acti­vating and channeling the anti-semitic impulse.

With the controversy now cooled, it is easiet to appreciate the significance of "the Goldhagen debate."63 Goldhagen did counter a ttend toward bloodless analysis and abstract theorizing in studies of the Jewish catastrophe. In addition, by achieving mass popularity, Goldhagen's book, like Samantha Power's "A Problem from Hell"'(2002),



W "1

Figures 6.10 and 6.11 The exchange between Christopher Browning (left), author of Ordinary Men (1992), and Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, author of Hitler's Willing Executioners (1996), centeted on the motivations of "ordinary" German killers of Jews during the Holocaust. Was "eliminationist anti-semitism" the centtal factor, as Goldhagen argued? Or was ir secondary to peer pressure and masculine bonding in wartime, as Browning suggested? The tesult was a defining - and continuing — debate in Holocaust and genocide studies.

Sources: The Gazette, University of Norrh Carolina (Browning); JTN Productions (Goldhagen).

broke down the usual wall between scholarship and public debate. However, the core elements of Goldhagen's thesis - that thete was something unique about German anti-semitism that spawned the Holocaust; that Getmans were only too teady to leap to bloodthirsty murder of Jews — have been decisively countered. Not only was anti-semitism historically stronger in countries other than Germany, but the virulence of its expression during the Second World War in (for example) Lithuania and Romania exceeded that of Getmany. The Nazis, as noted above, were reluctant to confront "ordinary Getmans" with bloody atrocity, though according to Saul Friedlander, "recent historical research increasingly turns German ignorance of the fate of the Jews into a mythical postwar construct."64 Nor could they rely on a widespread popular desire to inflict cruelty on Jews as the foundational strategy for implementing their genocide.

Israel, the Palestinians, and the Holocaust

Occasionally an experience of great suffering has been recognized as warranting creation or recognition of a homeland for the targeted group. Such was the case with East Timor (Box 7a), born from Indonesian occupation and genocide. The Kurdish protected zone and de facto state in northern Iraq may also qualify (Box 4a), together with the widespread recognition of Kosovo's declaration of independence from Serbia



in 2008. But no case is as dramatic as that of Israel in the wake of the Second World War. The dream of the Zionist movement founded in the nineteenth century, to establish a Jewish homeland in Palestine through mobilization and mass immigration, became a reality in the postwat period, as Britain abandoned its territorial mandate over Palestine, and Atabs and Jews fought over the territory. "Anti-Zionism in the Jewish community collapsed, and a consensus that Jewry, abandoned during the war, had to have a home of its own crystallized overnight."65 Jewish survivors of Nazi genocide provided Palestine with a critical mass of Jewish immigrants and, in the decades following the declaration of the Israeli state on May 15, 1948, Israel received tens of billions of dollars from the Federal Republic of Germany as reparations for the Holocaust of the Jews.

To a significant degree, successive Israeli governments have relied on the Holocaust as a touchstone of Jewish experience and national identity, and have used the threat of another genocide of the Jews to justify military and security policies.66 Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, for example, commemorated the country's Holocaust Remembrance Day on April 21, 2009, by asserting that "only a mattet of a few decades after the Holocaust, new forces have arisen that openly declate their intention to wipe the Jewish state off the face of the earth," a reference to statements allegedly made in 2005 by Itanian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (seep. 521). Netanyahu added: "Holocaust deniers cannot commit another Holocaust against the Jewish people. This is the state of Israel's supreme obligation." Deputy Ptime Minister Silvan Shalom claimed that "what Iran is trying to do right now" - a reference to the country's nuclear program - "is not far away at all from what Hitler did to the Jewish people just 65 years ago."67

Palestinians and their supporters, for their part, have tended to adopt the genocide framework as well - but to attract attention to the Palestinian cause. They have sought to dtaw parallels between Israel's repressive policies and those of the Nazis against Jews. Often such comparisons have seemed hysterical and/or counterproductive;68 but sometimes they have resonated. Notable was Israeli general (later prime ministet) Ariel Sharon's dispatching of Christian Phalangist militia to the Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila, during the Israelis' 1982 invasion of Lebanon. This led pre­dictably to the Einsatzgruppen-style massacre of thousands of Palestinian civilians, as Israeli troops stood by. Renewed denunciations, employing the language of genocide and crimes against humanity, were issued after Israel imposed a ruinous blockade on the Gaza Strip, still in place at the time of writing (March 2010). The blockade was described as a "genocidal policy" by Israeli historian Ilan Pappe.69 It prompted Richard Falk, subsequently the UN Human Rights Council's monitor for Israel-Palestine, to write in 2007 that Israeli strategies toward Gaza were reminiscent of Nazi ghettoization policies toward Jews, displaying "a deliberate intention ... to subject an entire human community to life-endangering conditions of utmost cruelty."70 In December 2008, Israel launched a massive assault on the Gaza Strip, killing many hundreds of Palestinian civilians and laying waste to large swathes of the territory. In the estimation of UN investigator Judge Richard Goldstone, this "deliberately disproportionate attack" was "designed to punish, humiliate and terrorize a civilian population, radically diminish its local economic capacity both to work and to provide for itself, and to force upon it an ever-increasing sense of dependency and vulnerability."71



Is the Jewish Holocaust "uniquely unique"?

Few historical and philosophical issues have generated such intense scholarly debate in genocide studies as the question of Holocaust uniqueness. On one level, it is clearly facile. As Alex Alvarez put it: "All genocides are simultaneously unique and anal­ogous."72 The question is whethet the Jewish Holocaust is sui generis — that is, "uniquely unique."73

In genocide studies, a well-known exponent of the uniqueness thesis is Steven Katz, who devoted his immense tome The Holocaust in Historical Context, Vol. 1 to arguing that the Jewish Holocaust was "phenomenologically unique by virtue of the fact that never before has a state set out, as a matter of intentional principle and actualized policy, to annihilate physically every man, woman, and child belonging to a specific people."74 The Nazi campaign against the Jews was the only true genocide, as Katz defined the term (see p. 18; recall that my own preferred definition of genocide reworks Katz's).

Othet scholats have argued against the uniqueness hypothesis. Historian Mark Levene has pointed to an "obvious contradiction": "while, on the one hand, the Holocaust has come to be commonly treated as the yardstick fot all that might be described as evil' in our world, on the other, it is ... a subject notably cordoned off and policed against those who might seek to make connections [with other genocides]." 5 Writer and poet Phillip Lopate has likewise argued that claims of uniqueness tend to bestow "a soft of privileged nation status in the motal honor roll."76 This claim of privilege then carries over to "the Jewish state," Israel, helping to blunt criticism of its treatment of the Palestinians.77

My own view should be clearly stated: the Jewish Holocaust was not "uniquely unique." On no major analytical dimension - speed, scale, scope, intensity, efficiency, cruelty, ideology - does it stand alone and apart. If it is unique in its mix of these ingredients, so too are most of the othet majot instances of mass killing in theit own way.78 I also believe that uniqueness proponents, like the rest of us, were severely shaken by the holocaust in Rwanda in 1994 (see Chapter 9). The killing there proceeded much fastet than the slaughter of the Jews; destroyed a higher proportion of the designated victim group (some 80 percent of Rwandan Tutsis versus two-thirds of European Jews); was carried out by "a chillingly effective organizational structure that would implement the political plan of genocide more efficiently than was achieved by the industtialized death camps in Nazi Germany";79 and - unlike the Jewish catastrophe - featured active participation by a substantial portion of the gen­eral population. Was Rwanda, then, "uniquely unique"? The claim seems as tenable as in the case of the Jewish Holocaust - but in both cases, a nuanced comparative framework is preferable.80

The Jews were unique as a target of the Nazis. "In the end," wrote Raul Hilberg, ". . . the Jews retained their special place."81 According to Omer Bartov,

It was only in the case of the Jews that there was a determination to seek out every baby hidden in a haystack, every family living in a bunker in the forest, every woman trying to pass herself off as a Gentile. It was only in the case of the Jews that vast facto ties were constructed and managed with the sole purpose of killing



trainload after trainload of people. It was only in the case of the Jews that huge, open-air, public massacres of tens of thousands of people were conducted on a daily basis throughout Eastern Europe.82

Lastly, the Jewish Holocaust holds a unique place in genocide studies. Among all the world's genocides, it alone produced a scholarly litetatute that spawned, in turn, a comparative discipline. Specialists on the subject played a central role in constituting the field and its institutions, such as the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS) and the Journal of Genocide Research: "Genocide studies is really the outgrowth of the study of the Holocaust," as sociologist Thomas Cushman has noted; according to historian Dan Stone, "for good or ill," the Holocaust "has provided many of the theoretical frameworks and research strategies for analyzing othet genocides."83

Still, there is no denying that the Holocaust has been significantly de-centered from comparative genocide studies since the emergence of the post-Lemkin research agenda in the 1970s and 1980s. In introducing the third edition of his edited collection Is the Holocaust Unique? (2009), Alan S. Rosenbaum acknowledged that

since [my] initial conception of this project some fifteen years ago, the center of gravity for the once-intense debate about the overall arguable claim for the significant uniqueness of the Holocaust may gradually but perceptibly be shifting. ... It is not that the Holocaust is consideted by most responsible or fair-minded scholars as any less paradigmatic, but rather [that] as the Holocaust recedes into history and other genocidal events occur, its scope and dimensions may naturally be better understood in the context of a broader genocide studies investigation.84


Note: No genocide has genetated remotely as much scholarly attention as the Nazis' Holocaust against the Jews. The following is a bare sampling of core works in English; othets are cited in subsequent chapters.

Irving Abella and Harold Troper, None is Too Many: Canada and the Jews of Europe, 1933—1948. Toronto, ON: Key Porter Books, 2002. Canada's shameful treatment of Jewish would-be refugees from Germany and Nazi-occupied Europe; one facet of the West's abandonment of the Jews.

Gotz Aly, "Final Solution ": Nazi Population Policy and the Murder of the European Jews. London: Arnold, 1999. Aly's "functionalist" argument stresses the role of Nazi bureaucrats confronted with problems of population management in the occu­pied territories. See also Hitler's Beneficiaries: Plunder, Racial War, and the Nazi Welfare State.

Omer Bartov, Germany's War and the Holocaust: Disputed Histories. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2003. Essays by the principal scholar of the Wehrmacht's war on the eastern front; see also Hitler's Army.

Donald Bloxham, The Final Solution: A Genocide. Oxford: Oxford University Press,



2009. A nuanced and fluidly written comparative treatment, by one of genocide

studies' most dynamic younger scholars. Christophet Browning, Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final

Solution in Poland. New York: Perennial, 1993. Based on some of the same archival

sources as Goldhagen's Hitler's Willing Executioners (see below), but emphasizes

group dynamics in addition to anti-semitism. See also The Origins of the Final

Solution: The Evolution of Nazi Jewish Policy, September 1939—March 1942. Avraham Burg, Ehe Holocaust is Over, We Must Rise from Its Ashes. London: Palgrave

Macmillan, 2008. Critical examination of the use and misuse of the Holocaust

in contemporary Israeli society. Michael Burleigh and Wolfgang Wippermann, The Racial State: Germany 1933—1945.

Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991. How Nazi racial ideology inspired

genocidal policy.

LucyS. Dawidowicz, TheWar Against the Jews, 1933—1945. New York: Bantam, 1986 (reissue). Dawidowicz's 1975 work is now generally seen as too "intentionalist" in its interpretation of the Judeocide. But it is still in print and widely read.

Alexander Donat, The Holocaust Kingdom. New York: Holocaust Library, 1978. Classic memoir of ghetto and death camp, sensitively told and translated.

Saul Friedlander, The Years of Extermination: Nazi Germany and the Jews, 1939—1945. New York: HarperCollins, 2007. Friedlander's work won the Pulitzer Prize, and has been praised for integrating firsthand testimonies with the historical and archival record. See also Nazi Germany and the Jews, Volume I: The Years of Persecution, 1933—1939.

Petet Fritzsche, Life and Death in the Third Reich. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2008. Up-close, galvanizing account of daily life in Germany as the Nazi Holocaust was unleashed on Central and Eastern Europe.

Robert Gellately, Backing Hitler: Consent and Coercion in Nazi Germany. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001. Argues that ordinary Germans generally supported Nazi policies, often exhibiting enthusiasm beyond the call of duty.

Daniel J. Goldhagen, Hitler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust. New York: Vintage, 1997. Controversial book ascribing a monocausal explanation for the genocide, rooted in Germans' visceral hatred of the Jews.

Jan T. Gross, Fear: Anti-Semitism in Poland after Auschwitz. New York: Random House, 2007. How murderous pogroms of Jews continued in Poland after the fall of the Third Reich. See also Neighbors: Ehe Destruction of the Jewish Community in Jedwabne, Poland.

Jeffrey Herf, The Jewish Enemy: Nazi Propaganda during World War LL and the Holocaust. Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2006. Eye-opening study of the Nazi conception of Jews as political threats ("Judeo-Bolsheviks") above all else.

Raul Hilberg, The Destruction of the European Jews (3rd edn), 3 vols. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2003. Massive, meticulous study of the bureaucracy of death.

Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf (MyStruggle), trans. Ralph Mannheim. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin, 1943. First published in 1925-26; lays out Hitler's vision of German destiny, as well as his virulent anti-semitism.



Eric A. Johnson and Karl-Heinz Reuband, What We Knew: Terror, Mass Murder, and Everyday Life in Nazi Germany: An Oral History. New York: Basic Books, 2005. Rich study based on interviews with German-Jewish Holocaust survivors.

Ian Kershaw, The Nazi Dictatorship: Problems and Perspectives of Lnterpretation (4th edn). London: Arnold, 2000. Overview of, and contribution to, scholarly debates about the nature of the Nazi regime.

Victor Klemperer, / Will Bear Witness: A Diary of the Nazi Years, 2 vols. New York: Modern Library, 1999, 2001. An essential document of the twentieth century: the testimony of a German Jewish professor who survived the entire Nazi era. See also The Lesser Evil: The Diaries of Victor Klemperer, 1945—59; and The Language of the Third Reich: LTI — Lingua Tertii Lmperii: A Philologist's Notebook.

Ronnie S. Landau, The Nazi Holocaust. Chicago, IL: Ivan R. Dee, 1994. A good, accessible primer on the origins and course of the Jewish catastrophe.

Primo Levi, Survival in Auschwitz. New York: Touchstone, 1996. Haunting account of a yeat and a half in the Nazi death camp; see also The Drowned and the Saved.

Wendy Lowet, Nazi Empire-Building and the Holocaust in Ukraine. Durham, NC: University of North Carolina Ptess, 2005. How Nazism exposed its imperial and genocidal nature most nakedly in the occupied territories of the East.

David B. MacDonald, Identity Politics in the Age of Genocide: The Holocaust and Historical Representation. London: Routledge, 2008. How non-Jews have deployed the language and motifs of the Holocaust to highlight their own and others' victimization.

Peter Novick, The Holocaust in American Life. Boston, MA: Matiner, 2000. Myth-shattering investigation of the Holocaust's evolving interpretations, and its emergence as a unifying force in American Jewish life.

Alan S. Rosenbaum, ed., Ls the Holocaust Unique? Perspectives on Comparative Genocide, 3rd edn. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2009. Important and controversial essays, including some significant new ones for this edition.

Ron Rosenbaum, Explaining Hitler: The Search for the Origins of His Evil. New York: Perennial, 1999. Quest for the essence of the malignancy that was Hitler.

Shlomo Venezia, Inside the Gas Chambers: Eight Months in the Sonderkommando of Auschwitz. Cambridge: Polity, 2009. Astonishing testimony of a Greek Jew forced to serve in the gas chambers and crematoria of the Nazis' most destructive death camp.


1 In religious usage, a "holocaust" is "a sacrificial offering wholly consumed by fire in exaltation of God" (Arno J. Mayer, Why Did the Heavens Not Darken? The "Tinal Solution" in History [New York: Pantheon, 1988], p. 16). However, in the twentieth century, this was supplanted by a secular usage, in which "holocaust" designates "a wide variety of conflagrations, massacres, wars, and disasters." See Jon Petrie's fascinating etymological study, "Ehe Seculat Word HOLOCAUST: Scholatly Myths, History, and 20th Centuiy Meanings," fournal of Genocide Research, 2: 1 (2000), pp. 31-64.

2 Donald L. Niewyk, "Holocaust: The Jews," in Samuel L. Totten et al,eds, Century of Genocide: Eyewitness Accounts and Critical Views (New York: Garland Publishing, 1997), p. 136. The figure of 5.1 to 5.4 million killed is used by the US Holocaust Museum; see



Peter Balakian, The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and America's Response (New Yotk: HarperCollins, 2003), p. 195.

3 Statistics cited in Michael Shermer and Alex Grobman, Denying History: Who Says the Holocaust Never Happened and Why Do They Say It? (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2002), p. 174. Saul Friedlander also estimates "between five and six million Jews . . . killed" in the Holocaust: Friedlander, The Years of Extermination: Nazi Germany and the fews, 1939—1945 (New York: HarperCollins, 2007), p. 662.

4 Yehuda Bauer, Rethinking the Holocaust (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2001), p. xi.

5 See Marvin Perry and Frederick M. Schweitzer, eds, Antisemitic Myths: A Historical and Contemporary Anthology (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2008).

6 Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, Hitler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust (New York: Vinrage, 1997), pp. 37-38. For a detailed study of the progressive demonizarion of the Jews, see Steven T. Katz, "Medieval Antisemitism: The Process of Mythification," ch. 6 in Katz, The Holocaust in Historical Context, Vol. 1: The Holocaust and Mass Death before the Modern Age (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994), pp. 225—316. However, as Mark Levene has pointed out to me, there was also a sense in which medieval Christianity needed the Jews - "fot its own Christological endtime" and teleological myth. It may thus have been constrained from launching a full-scale genocidal assault on them. Levene, personal communication, August 26, 2005.

7 Colin Tatz, With Intent to Destroy: Reflecting on Genocide (London: Verso, 2003), p. 44.

8 Luthet quoted in Raul Hilberg, The Destruction of the European fews (3rd edn), Vol. 1 (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2003), p. 13.

9 The most infamous anti-semitic tract of modern times is the Protocols of the Elders ofZion (1903), a pamphlet that is now genetally held to have been devised by the Tsar's secret police in pre-revolutionary Russia, but which purported to represent the ambitions and deliberations of a global Jewish conspiracy against Christian civilization. Fot the complete text of the Protocols, and a point-by-point refutation, see Steven Leonatd Jacobs and Mark Weitzman, Dismantling the Big Lie: the Protocols of the Elders ofZion (Jetsey City, NJ: Ktav Publishing House, 2003 - n.b. the centenary of the Protocols). For a con­sideration of its bizartely enduring influence, see Evan Derkacz, "Again With the 'Jewish Conspiracy,"' , April 11, 2006. /story/34812.

10 Nor is the institution of the anti-semitic pogrom unknown even in post-Wo rid War Two Europe, as Jan T. Gross's sterling study, Pear: Anti-Semitism in Poland After Auschwitz: An Essay in Historical Interpretation, (New Yotk: Random House, 2006) makes clear.

11 In addition, for exponents of biological anti-semitism (a nineteenth-century invention), Jews came to be viewed as innately at odds with Western-Christian civilization. Religious conversion could no longer expunge their Jewishness — which helps explain why this option was denied to Jews under Nazi rule. My thanks to Benjamin Madley for this point.

12 Ronnie S. Landau, The Nazi Holocaust (Chicago, IL: Ivan R. Dee, 1994), p. 44.

13 In the case of France, sttong arguments have been made that anti-semitism was far more widespread and virulent, in elite and popular opinion, than was true in Germany. But "in France - unlike Germany - whatever the strength of antisemitic feeling on the streets, in the bars and in the universities, political power always remained in the hands of the liberal republicans, a government which never endotsed political antisemitism" (Landau, The Nazi Holocaust, p. 63). However, when dictatotial government and "eliminationist anti-semitism" (Daniel Goldhagen's term) were imposed in France from 1940 to 1944 -undet ditect Nazi occupation and undei the Vichy puppet regime - the authotities and a key section of the population cooperated enthusiastically in the transport for mass execution of the Jews.

14 Richatd Plant, The Pink Triangle: The Nazi War against Homosexuals (New York: Owl Books, 1988), p. 23.

15 Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf (My Struggle), ttans. Ralph Mannheim (Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin, 1943), p. 562.



16 Landau, The Nazi Holocaust, pp. 317, 122.

17 See Orlando Patterson, Slavery and Social Death: A Comparative Study (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1982), and the discussion in Goldhagen, Hitler's Willing Executioners, pp. 168-70.

18 Goldhagen, Hitler's Willing Executioners, p. 141. A recent book treatment is Alan E. Steinweis, Kristallnacht 1938 (Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2009). For an excellent short analysis, see Leonidas E. Hill, "The Pogrom of November 9-10, 1938 in Germany," in Paul R. Brass, ed., Riots and Pogroms (Washington Square, NY: New York University Press, 1996), pp. 89-113.

19 Robert Gellately, Backing Hitler: Consent and Coercion in Nazi Germany (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), p. vii.

20 Omer Bartov, Germany's War and the Holocaust: Disputed Histories (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2003), p. 197.

21 Victor Klemperer, / Will Bear Witness 1933-1941 (New York: The Modern Library, 1999), pp. 165, 329-30, 393, 422, 429; Klemperer, I Will Bear Witness 1942-1945 (New York: The Modern Library, 2001), pp. 66, 71. Elisabeth Fteund, ajewish Berliner, also described the mixed but frequently sympathetic reaction that German Jews teceived from "Aryans" when forced to don the yellow star in September 1941: "I am greeted on the street with special politeness by complete strangers, and in the street car ostentatiously a seat is freed for me, although those wearing a stat are allowed to sit only if no Aryan is still standing. But sometimes guttersnipes call out abusive words aftet me. And occa­sionally Jews are said to have been beaten up. Someone tells me of an experience in the city train. A mother saw that her little girl was sitting beside a Jew: 'Lieschen, sit down on the othet bench, you don't need to sit beside a Jew.' At that an Aryan worker stood up, saying: 'And I don't need to sit next to Lieschen.'" Quoted in Friedlander, The Years of Extermination, p. 253.

The important study by Eric A. Johnson and Karl-Heinz Reuband, What We Knew: Terror, Mass Murder, and Everyday Life in Nazi Germany: An Oral History (New York: Basic Books, 2005), further buttresses Klemperer's impression that anti-semitism was not widespread in Germany before 1933. Most German Jewish Holocaust survivors interviewed for the volume "stated that they and their families had felt well accepted and integtated in German society. Only a few believed that anti-Semitism was especially prevalent in Germany before the Nazi takeover in January 1933." However, and again meshing with Klemperer's documentation of a swiftly darkening situation, "the figures show that aftet Hitler took power in 1933, the once positive relations between Jews and non-Jews deteriorated. Whereas over two-thirds of the survivors' families before 1933 had friendly relations with non-Jews in their communities, after 1933 nearly two-thitds had relations that the survivors described as clearly worse or even hostile . . . Very few Jewish families in any German communities after 1933 maintained friendly associations with non-Jews . . . Even more distutbing, 22 petcent of the survivors . . . suffered physical beatings from German civilians, and this was nearly thtee times the percentage of those who suffered beatings from Nazi policemen or other officials ..." (pp. 269, 273, 279). While one-third of survivors "received significant help and support from non-Jewish German civilians during the Third Reich," it was also the case that "about two-thirds could not find a single German willing to help them, and one can only wonder about the Jews who did not survive" (p. 283).

22 Christopher R. Browning, The Path to Genocide: Essays on Launching the Final Solution (Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press, 1992), p. ix.

23 Mayer, Why Did the Heavens Not Darken?, pp. 114, 116-17.

24 Michael Burleigh, "Psychiatry, German Society and the Nazi 'Euthanasia' Programme," in Omer Bartov, ed., The Holocaust: Origins, Implementation, Aftermath (London: Routledge, 2000), p. 70.

25 Landau, The Nazi Holocaust, pp. 154-55. In his memoir of the Warsaw ghetto, Alexander Donat gives a figure for half a million ghetto internees as "27,000 apartments in an area of 750 acres, with six or seven persons to a room" (Donat, The Holocaust Kingdom



[Washington, DC: Holocaust Library, 1999], p. 24). A famous porttait of life in the Warsaw ghetto in 1941, conveying the hardship and horror of ghetto life, is provided by the photographs taken by a German army officer, Heinrich Jost. See Gunther Schwarberg, In the Ghetto of Warsaw: Photographs by Heinrich fost (Gottingen: Steidl Publishing, 2001).

26 See Richard Rhodes, Masters of Death: The SS-Einsatzgruppen and the Invention of the Holocaust (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2002).

27 Mayrhofer quoted in Wendy Lower, Nazi Empire-Building and the Holocaust in Ukraine (Durham, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2005), pp. 133-34.

28 Omer Bartov, Germany's War and the Holocaust: Disputed Histories (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2003), p. 14. See also the excellent two-part essay by Wolfgang Weber, "The Debate in Germany over the Crimes of Hitler's Wehrmacht," World Socialist Web Site, September 19-20, 2001, /articles/2001/sep2001/weht-sl9. shtml and /articles/2001/sep2001/wehr-s20.shtml.

29 A key "tipping point" for the Wehrmacht's "indiscriminate, systematic and wholesale resort to carnage" was the Commissar Order issued on June 6, 1941, which called for "Communist Party functionaries ... to be identified . . . and murdered by the army either on the spot or in rear areas." "Effectively," notes Michael Burleigh, "the army was assuming the functions hitherto performed by the Einsatzgruppen, namely the killing of an entire group of people solely by virtue of their membership of that group and without formal process." Burleigh, Ethics and Extermination: Reflections on Nazi Genocide (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), p. 67.

30 Hannah Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil (New Yotk: The Viking Press, 1965), p. 107.

31 Peter Fritzsche, Life and Death in the Third Reich (Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2008), p. 200.

32 Kretschmer quoted in Shermer and Grobman, Denying History, p. 185.

33 This gendered element of the slaughter is discussed further in Chaptet 13.

34 Jacques Semelin, Purify and Destroy: The Political Uses of Massacre and Genocide (New York: Columbia University Ptess, 2007), p. 276.

35 The statistics ate drawn from Landau, The Nazi Holocaust.

36 Fritzsche, Life and Death in the Third Reich, p. 215.

37 "Whether the Germans were killing [Jews] immediately and directly in the gas chambers of an extermination camp or working and starving them to death in camps that they had not constructed for the express purpose of extermination (namely in concentration or 'work' camps), the mortality rates of Jews in camps was at exterminatory, genocidal levels and typically far exceeded the mottality rates of other groups living side by side with them. . . . The monthly death rate for Jews in Mauthausen [camp] was, from the end of 1942 to 1943, 100 percent. Mauthausen was not formally an extermination camp and, indeed, it was not for non-Jews, who at the end of 1943 all had a mortality rate below 2 percent." Goldhagen, Hitler's Willing Executioners, p. 173. Fot more on the Nazi system of forced and slave labour, see Wolf Gruner, Jewish Forced Labor Under the Nazis: Economic Needs and Racial Aims, 1938-1944, trans. Kathleen M. Dell'Orto (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006).

38 On the forced marches of Jews and other camp inmates, see "Marching to What End?," ch. 14 in Goldhagen, Hitler's Willing Executioners, pp. 355-71.

39 Niewyk, "Holocaust: The Jews," p. 150.

40 Ibid.; for Epstein's testimony, see pp. 150—70.

41 Hitlet quoted in Gerald Fleming, Hitler and the Final Solution (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1984), p. 17.

42 Tatz, With Intent to Destroy, p. 22.

43 Browning, The Path to Genocide, p. 86.

44 Michael Burleigh and Wolfgang Wippermann, The Racial State: Germany 1933—1945 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), p. 96. Dan Stone likewise contends that "there are now very few historians who would take either an extreme intentionalist or an



extreme functionalist position, since most now tecognize both that befote 1941 or 1942 there was no clearly formulated blueprint for genocide and that a worldview built on mystical race thinking, especially anti-Semitism, lay at the heart of the regime." Stone, "The Holocaust and its Histotiogtaphy," in Dan Stone, ed., The Historiography of Genocide (London: Palgtave Macmillan, 2008), p. 377.

45 Shermer and Grobman, Denying History, p. 213.

46 Hilberg, The Destruction of the European Jews, Vol. 1, pp. 139-40; Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem, pp. 59-60.

47 Atendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem, pp. 117—18, 125. See also the discussion in Hilberg, The Destruction of the European fews, Vol. 1, pp. 218-22. "With the growth of the desttuctive function of the Judenrate, many Jewish leaders felt an almost irresistible urge to look like their German masters" (p. 219).

48 Raul Hilberg, Perpetrators, Victims, Bystanders: The Jewish Catastrophe 1933-1945 (New York: Perennial, 1993), p. 170. In The Destruction of the European Jews (Vol. 2, p. 901), Hilberg referred to "masses of Jewish depottees, numb, fantasy-ridden, and filled with illusions, [who] reacted with mechanical cooperation to every German command" (the specific reference is to the Hungatian depottations of 1944).

49 See Richatd Rashke, Escape from Sobibor (Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1995); Israel Gutman, Resistance: The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising (Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin, 1998). Also notable was the doomed rebellion of the Sonderkommando (Jews selected to do the dirty work in the gas chambets and crematoria) at Auschwitz II-Birkenau in October 1944, and the Polish Jewish partisan movement led by the three Bielski brothers, depicted in the 2008 film Defiance (based on Nechama Tec, Defiance: The True Story of the Bielski Partisans [Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994]).

50 Donat, The Holocaust Kingdom, p. 7'.

51 Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, Worse Than War: Genocide, Eliminationism, and the Ongoing Assault on Humanity (New York: Basic Books, 2009), p. 133.

52 Bauer, Rethinking the Holocaust, p. 213.

53 Browning, The Path to Genocide, p. ix.

54 See John Cornwell, Hitler's Pope: The Secret History of Pius XII (New York: Penguin, 2008); Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, A Moral Reckoning: The Role of the Catholic Church in the Holocaust and Its Unfulfilled Duty of Repair (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2002).

55 Friedlander, The Years of Extermination, pp. 568, 572.

56 Reginald H. Phelps, quoted in Goldhagen, Hitler's Willing Executioners, p. 443.

57 In the case of Denmark, Saul Friedlander wrote: "The Germans had allowed a semi-autonomous Danish government to stay in place, and theit own ptesence as occupiers was hardly felt. Hitler had decided on this peculiar course to avoid unnecessary difficulties in a country [that was] strategically impottant. . . 'racially related' to the community of Nordic peoples, and mainly an essential supplier of agricultural products ..." Friedlander, The Years of Extermination, p. 545.

58 Hilberg, Perpetrators, Victims, Bystanders, p. 258.

59 Burleigh, Ethics and Extermination, pp. 155, 164.

60 Burleigh and Wippermann, The Racial State, p. 51 •

61 Christophet Browning, Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland (New York: HarperPerennial, 1998), pp. 184, 186.

62 Goldhagen, Hitler's Willing Executioners, pp. 277, 446.

63 See Robert R. Shandley, ed., Unwilling Germans? The Goldhagen Debate (Minneapolis, MN: The University of Minnesota Ptess, 1998).

64 Friedlander, The Years of Extermination, p. 511. See Chapter 14 for further discussion of history and memory in Germany after the Second World War.

65 Hilberg, Perpetrators, Victims, Bystanders, p. 191. As Martha Minow comments, "The creation of Israel could be viewed as a kind of international reparation effort." Minow, Between Vengeance and Forgiveness: Facing History after Genocide and Mass Violence (Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 1998), p. 133.



66 See Idith Zertal, Israel's Holocaust and the Politics of Nationhood (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005).

67 "Israel Pledges to Protect Itself from 'New Holocaust' Threat Posed by Iran's Nuclear Programme," Daily Telegraph, April 21, 2009. Ahmadinejad's comments, made to a "World Without Zionism" conference in Tehran on Octobet 26, 2005, were translated in many media as "Israel must be wiped off the map," suggesting the country and its population should be physically destroyed. However, this is disputed by, among othets, Juan Cole, who claims a mote accurate translation is: "This regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time." In this leading, assetts Cole, "Ahmadinejad was not making a threat, he was quoting a saying of [Ayatollah] Khomeini and urging that pro-Palestinian activists in Iran not give up hope — that the occupation of Jerusalem was no more a continued inevitability than had been the hegemony of the Shah's government," overthrown in Iran in 1979. See Cole, "Informed Comment," May 3, 2006, http://www. /2006/05/hitchens-hacket-and-hitchens.html.

68 See, e.g., "[Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud] Abbas: IDF [Israel Defense Forces] Action Wotse than Holocaust," The Jerusalem Post, March 2, 2008; "Iran: Israeli Crimes Outstrip Holocaust," Reuters dispatch on , February 12, 2006.

69 Han Pappe, "Genocide in Gaza," The Electronic Intifada, September 2, 2006, http.7/ /v2/article5656.shtml.

70 Richard Falk, "Slouching toward a Palestinian Holocaust," The Ttansnational Foundation for Peace and Future Reseatch, June 29, 2007, http://www.ttansnational. org/Area_MiddleEast/2007/Falk_PalestineGenocide.html. A Red Cross report leaked in 2008 described a "progressive detetioration in food security for up to 70 pet cent of Gaza's population" as a tesult of the Israeli siege, adding that "Chronic malnutrition is on a steadily rising trend and micronutrient deficiencies are of great concern." Quoted in Donald Macintyre, "Chronic Malnutrition in Gaza Blamed on Israel," The Independent, November 15, 2008. Former US president Jimmy Carter stated in 2008 that the Palestinian population of Gaza was being "starved to death," with caloric intakes lower than in the poorest African countries: "It's an atrocity what is being perpetrated as punishment on the people in Gaza. ... I think it is an abomination that this continues to go on." Jonathan Wtight, "Carter Calls Gaza Blockade a Crime and Atrocity," Reutets dispatch on Yahoo! News, April 18, 2008.

71 Goldstone report cited in Rory McCarthy, "UN Investigation Finds Evidence of War Crimes in Gaza Campaign," The Guardian, October 25, 2009.

72 Alex Alvarez, Governments, Citizens, and Genocide: A Comparative and Interdisciplinary Approach (Bloomington, IN: Indiana Univetsity Press, 2001), p. 14.

73 The phrase "uniquely unique" was first used by Alice L. Eckhardt and Roy Eckhardt; see Gunnar Heinsohn, "What Makes the Holocaust a Uniquely Unique Genocide?," fournal of Genocide Research, 2: 3 (2000), p. 430 (n. 95).

74 Katz, The Holocaust in Historical Context, p. 28.

75 Mark Levene, Genocide in the Age of the Nation-State, Vol. 1: The Meaning of Genocide (London: LB. Tauris, 2005), p. 2.

76 Lopate, cited in Helen Fein, Genocide: A Sociological Perspective (London: Sage Publications, 1993), p. 52.

77 A tecent polemic charges that a "Holocaust industry" has been created to win financial concessions from banks, industrial entetptises, and others who profited from the Jewish catasttophe. See Notman G. Finkelstein, The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering (new edn) (New Yotk: Verso, 2003).

78 As David Moshman put it: "True, the Holocaust is phenomenologically distinct from every other genocide, but so is every other genocide distinct from every othet. Every genocide is unique, and the Holocaust is no exception." Moshman, "Conceptions of Genocide and Perceptions of History," in Stone, ed., The Historiography of Genocide, p. 72.

79 Nicholas Wheeler, Saving Strangers: Humanitarian Intervention in International Society (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), p. 212.



80 Interestingly, Vol. 2 of Steven Katz's The Holocaust in Historical Context, which was supposed to apply his uniqueness thesis to twentieth-century cases of mass killing, was scheduled for publication some years ago, but has yet to appear. I have often wondered whether Katz hit an insupetable roadblock in applying his uniqueness thesis to the Rwandan genocide, which occurred the same year his first volume was published.

81 Hilberg, The Destruction of the European fews, Vol. 3, p. 1075.

82 Bartov, Germany's War and the Holocaust, p. 106.

83 Thomas Cushman, "Is Genocide Preventable? Some Theoretical Considerations," fournal of Genocide Research, 5: 4 (2003), p. 528; Dan Stone, "Introduction," in Stone, ed., The Historiography of Genocide, p. 2. Interestingly, the fate of the Jews was not primary in Raphael Lemkin's framing of genocide in his 1944 book, which first propounded the concept. Martin Shaw has written: "Fot Lemkin (although himself Jewish and absolutely concerned about the horrors inflicted on the Jews), Nazi genocide was never exclusively or primarily an anti-Jewish campaign; that was not the standatd against which other Nazi persecutions were measured. On the contrary, his book aimed to demonstrate (by placing on record translations of Nazi laws in the occupied countties) how comprehensively, against a tange of subject peoples, the Nazis had attempted to destroy the existence of nations, their well-being, institutions and ways of life." Shaw, What is Genocide? (Cambridge: Polity, 2007), pp. 20-21.

84 Alan S. Rosenbaum, "Introduction to the Thitd Edition," in Rosenbaum, ed., E the Holocaust Unique? Perspectives on Comparative Genocide (Bouldet, CO: Westview Press, 2009), p. 21. Martin Shaw goes further: "In order to understand other genocides . . . the impetative is not to compare them with the Holocaust - which as a specific episode was necessarily unique in many tespects - but to interpret them in terms of a coherent genet al conception. We don't need a standard that steers all discussion towards a maximal concept of industtial extermination, a standard that distorts even the Nazi genocide against the Jews. We do need a coherent, genetic, sociological concept of genocide that can make sense of a tange of historical experiences." Shaw, What is Genocide?, p. 45.

While most people associate Nazi genocide with the Jewish Holocaust, a plethora of other victim groups accounted for the majority of those killed by the Nazis. Only in 1942 did the mass murder of Jews come to predominate, as historian Christopher Browning pointed out:

If the Nazi regime had suddenly ceased to exist in the first half of 1941, its most notorious achievements in human destruction would have been the so-called euthanasia killing of seventy to eighty thousand German mentally ill and the systematic murder of the Polish intelligentsia. If the regime had disappeared in the spring of 1942, its historical infamy would have rested on the "war of destf uction" against the Soviet Union. The mass death of some two million prisoners of war in the first nine months of that conflict would have stood out even more prominently than the killing of approximately one-half million Jews in that same period.

"Ever since," wrote Browning, the Jewish Holocaust "has overshadowed National Socialism's other all-too-numerous atrocities."1 It does so in this book



as well. Yet it is important to devote attention, however inadequate, to the Nazis' other victims.


Communists and socialists

The first Nazi concentration camp was located at Dachau, neat Munich. Opened in March 1933 - two months after the Nazis seized power - its stated purpose was "to concentrate, in one place, not only all Communist officials but also, if necessary, the officials of. . . other Marxist formations who thteaten the security of the state."2 Bolshevism was as central to Hitler's Weltanschauung (worldview) as anti-semitism, embodying the decadent modernist tendencies that he loathed. In fact, Hitler's ideology and geopolitical strategy are best seen as motivated by a hatred of "Judeo-Bolshevism," and a conviction that the Nazis' tetritorial ambitions in Centtal and Eastern Europe could be realized only through victory over "the Marxist-cum-Bolshevik 'octopus' and the Jewish world conspiracy."3

One can distinguish between pre-war and wartime phases of the campaign against communists and socialists. In the pre-war stage, these sectors dominated the security policies of the Reich. They were the major targets of state violence and incarceration in camps; Jews-as-Jews were not targeted for substantial physical violence or imprisonment until Kristallnacht in 1938, by which time the German Left had been ctushed. Communists, socialists, and other Left-oppositionists were also purged from public institutions in a manner very similar to Jews.4 Historian Arnold Sywottek estimates that the Gestapo murdered in excess of 100,000 communists during the twelve years of the Third Reich.5

After the occupation of western Poland in September-October 1939, and especially with the invasion of eastern Poland and the Soviet Union in June 1941, the struggle against Bolshevism became bound up with the Nazis' ambi­tion to enslave and exterminate the Slavic "subhuman." "What the Bolsheviks are must be clear to anybody who ever set sight upon the face of a Red Commissar," declared an article in the Nazi military paper, Mitteilungen fur die Truppe (Information for the Troops), as the invasion of the Soviet Union was launched in June 1941. "Here no theoretical explanations are necessary any­more. To call beastly the ttaits of these people, a high percentage of whom ate Jews, would be an insult to animals. ... In these Commissars we see the uprising of subhumans against noble blood."6 As this quotation suggests, the Nazis' ideological struggle against communists and socialists became intertwined with the national and military struggle with the USSR; the threat of ethnic swamping by "barbarians from the East"; and the assault on European Jewry.



Asocials and undesirables

The Nazis' quest for racial purity and social homogeneity meant that "asocial" elements wete to be annihilated or, in some cases, reformed. An effective study of this phenomenon is Robert Gellately's book on Nazism and German public opinion, Backing Hitler. Considered asocial was "anyone who did not participate as a good citizen and accept their social responsibilities." Among the groups harassed and punished were men seen as "shirking" paid work, or otherwise congenitally prone to unemployment or vagabondage.7 Gellately describes a "special action" organized by Nazi police chief Heinrich Himmler in March 1937 "to arrest 2,000 people out of work":

The instruction was to send to concentration camps, those who "in the opinion of the Criminal Police' were professional criminals, repeat offenders, or habitual sex offenders. The enthusiasm of the police was such that they arrested not 2,000, but 2,752 people, only 171 of whom had broken their probation. Police used the event as a pretext to get rid of "problem cases." Those arrested were described as break-in specialists (938), thieves (741), sex offenders (495), swindlers (436), robbers (56), and dealers in stolen goods (86). Only 85 of them [3 percent] were women.8

According to Gellately, "A recurrent theme in Hitler's thinking was that in the event of war, the home front would not fall prey to saboteurs, that is, anyone vaguely considered to be 'criminals,' 'pimps,' or 'deserters'." The result was that "asocial" men, along with some women accused of involvement in the sex trade or common crimes, were confined in "camps [that] were presented as educative institutions . . . places for 'race defilers, rapists, sexual degenerates and habitual criminals'" (quoting an article in Das Schwarze Korps newspaper). Although "these camps were nothing like the death camps in the eastern occupied territories, the suffering, death, and outright murder in them was staggering."9 Just as Jews and bolshevism blurred in the Nazis' ideology, it is important to recognize the ovetlap among asocials, Jews, and Roma (Gypsies). It was a cornerstone of the Nazi demonization of Jews that they were essentially a parasitic class, incapable of "honest" wotk and thus driven to usury, lazy cosmopolitanism, and criminality. Likewise, perhaps the core of the Nazi racial hatred of Roma lay in their stereotypical depiction as shiftless and inclined to criminal behavior. The genocidal consequences of these stereotypes are examined in the "Other Holocausts" section, below.

Homosexual men

For all the promiscuous hatreds of Adolf Hitler, "homophobia was not one of his major obsessions,"10 and Hitler does not seem to have been the moving force



behind the Nazi campaign against gay men. (Lesbian women were never systematically targeted or arrested.)11 Rather, that dubious honor goes to the owlish Heinrich Himmler, supreme commander of the SS paramilitary force, "whose loathing of homosexuals knew no bounds."12 As early as 1937, in a speech to the SS academy at Bad Toelz, Himmler pledged: "Like stinging nettles we will rip them [homosexuals] out, throw them on a heap, and burn them. Otherwise . . . we'll see the end of Germany, the end of the Germanic world." Latet he would proclaim to his Finnish physiotherapist, Dr. Felix Kersten:

We must exterminate these people toot and branch. Just think how many children will never be born because of this, and how a people can be broken in nerve and spirit when such a plague gets hold of it. . . . The homosexual is a ttaitor to his own people and must be rooted out.13

As these comments suggest, the reviling of gays was linked to Nazi beliefs surrounding asocial and "useless" groups, who not only conttibuted nothing productive to the body politic, but actively subverted it. Gay males — because they chose to have sex with men - "were self-evidently failing in their duty to contribute to the demographic expansion of the Aryan-Germanic race,' at a time when millions of young men had perished in the First World War."14 Just as Roma and (especially) Jews were deemed parasites on German society and the national economy, so were gays labeled "as useless as hens which don't lay eggs" and "sociosexual propagation misfits."15 (They did, however, have their uses: among some conquered peoples, homosexuality was to be encouraged, since it "would hasten theit degeneracy, and thus theit demise.")16

Richard Plant's study of the Nazi persecution of gays, The Pink Triangle, estimated the number of men convicted for homosexual "crimes" from 1933 to 1944 to be "between 50,000 and 63,000, of which nearly 4,000 were juveniles."17 In the concentration camps that wete the destiny of thousands of them, their "fate . . . can only be described as ghastly."18 Like the Jews, they were forced to wear a special badge (the pink ttiangle of Plant's title), were referred to contemptuously as Mannweiber ("manwives"), and were segregated from their fellow prisoners, who often joined in the derision and brutalization. An inmate at Dachau reported that "the prisoners with the pink ttiangle did not live very long; they were quickly and systematically exterminated by the SS."19 According to Konnilyn Feig, they found themselves "tormented from all sides as they struggle[d] to avoid being assaulted, raped, worked, and beaten to death."20 Gay men were also among the likeliest candidates for medical experiments. At no point was support and solace likely from relatives or friends, because of the shame and stigma attaching to their "crimes." Plant estimates that the large majority of homosexuals consigned to concentration camps perished there -some 5,000 to 15,000 men.21



Jehovah's Witnesses and religious dissidents

If gays were dragged into the Nazi holocaust by their "traitorous" reluctance to contribute to Germany's demographic revival, Jehovah's Witnesses — alteady anathematized as a religious cult by the dominant Protestant and Catholic religious communities — wete condemned for refusing to swear loyalty to the Nazi regime and to serve in the Getman military. In April 1935 the faith was formally outlawed, and later that yeat the first 400 Jehovah's Witnesses were consigned to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. By 1939 the number incarcerated thete and in other prisons and camps had ballooned to 6,000.

When war broke out in September 1939, the Witnesses' rejection ot military service aroused still greater malevolence. Only a few days after the German invasion of Poland, a believer who refused to swear loyalty to the regime, August Dickmann, was executed by the Gestapo "in order to set an example."22 In all, "Over the course of the dictatorship, as many as 10,000 members of the com­munity wete attested, with 2,000 sent to concentration camps, where they were treated dreadfully and as many as 1,200 died or were murdered."23

In a curious twist, however, a positive stereotype also arose around the Witnesses. They came to be viewed in the camps as "industrious, neat, and tidy, and uncompromising in [theit] religious principles." Accordingly,

the SS ultimately switched to a policy of trying to exploit [the Witnesses'] devotion to duty and their reliability. . . . They were used as general servants in SS households or put to work in small Kommandos [work teams] when there was a threat that prisoners might escape. In Ravensbriick [women's concentration camp], they were showcased as "exemplary prisoners," while in Niederhagen, the only camp where they constituted the core population, they wete put to work on renovations.24

As for mainstream religion, in general the Nazis distrusted it, preferring their own brand of mysticism and V&/£-worship. Their desire not to provoke unrest among the general population, or (before the war) international opposition, limited their campaign against the main Protestant dominations and the large Catholic minority in Germany. No such restraint obtained in occupied Poland, however, whete leading Catholic figutes were swept up in the campaign of eliticide against the Polish intelligentsia. At home, as the war turned against Germany, religious dissidents of all stripes came to be hounded, imprisoned, and killed. The best-known case is that of the Protestant pastor Diettich Bonhoeffer, who declaimed against the Nazi regime from his pulpit, and was hanged in Flossenburg concentration camp shortly before the war ended. His Letters and Papers from Prison has become a classic of devotional literature.25



The handicapped and infirm

As with every othet group the Nazis targeted, the campaign against the handicapped and infirm exploited a popular receptiveness based on long­standing patterns of discrimination and anathematization in European and Western culture. An offshoot of the Western drive for modernity was the development of a science of eugenics, taking both positive and negative forms: "Positive eugenics was the attempt to encourage increased breeding by those who were considered particularly fit; negative eugenics aimed at eliminating the unfit."26 The foci of this international movement were Germany, Great Britain, and the United States (the US pioneeted the use of forced sterilization against those considered "abnormal").27 In Germany in the 1920s, tteatises by noted legal and medical authorities railed against those "unworthy of life" and demanded the "destruction" of disabled persons in institutions. This was not murder but "mercy death."28 Such views initially received strong public backing, even among many relatives of institutionalized patients.29

Once in power, the Nazis intensified the trend. Within a few months, they had promulgated the Law for the Prevention of Hereditarily Diseased Progeny, beginning a policy that by 1945 had led to the forced sterilization of some 300,000 people. The Marriage Health Law followed in 1935, under which Germans seeking to wed were forced to provide medical documentation ptoving that they did not carry hereditary conditions or afflictions. If they could not so demonstrate, the application was rejected.30

In the two years prior to the outbreak of the Second World War, Hitler and other Nazi planners began paving the way for the collective killing of disabled infants and children, then of adults. Hitler used the "fog of war" to cover the implementation of the campaign (the authotization, petsonally signed by Hitlet on September 8, 1939, was symbolically backdated to September 1 to coincide with the invasion of Poland). "An elaborate covert bureaucracy"31 was estab­lished in a confiscated Jewish property at Tiergartenstrasse 4 in Berlin, and "Aktion T-4" - as the extetmination program was dubbed - moved into high gear. The program's "task was to organise the tegistration, selection, ttansfer and murder of a previously calculated target group of 70,000 people, including chronic schizophrenics, epileptics and long-stay patients."32 All wete deemed unnutze Esser, "useless eaters" — surely one of the most macabre phrases in the Nazi vocabulary. In the end, the plan was overfulfilled. Among the victims were an estimated 6,000 to 7,000 children, who were starved to death or administered fatal medication. Many adults were dispatched to a prototype gas chamber.33

At every point in the chain of death, the complicity of nurses, doctots, and professionals of all stripes was enthusiastic. Yet as the scope of the killing widened, the general population (and Germany's churches) proved more ambivalent, eventually leading to open protest. In August 1941, "Aktion T-4" was closed down in Germany. But a decentralized version continued in operation until the last days of the war, and even beyond (the last victim died



on May 29, 1945, under the noses of Allied occupiers). Meanwhile, the heart of the program — its eager supervisors and technicians — was bundled east, to manage the extetmination of Jews and others in the death camps of Treblinka, Belzec, and Sobibor in Poland. Thus, "the euthanasia program was the direct precursor of the death factories - ideologically, organizationally, and in terms of personnel."34

Predictably, then, mass murder in the eastern occupied territories also targeted the handicapped. "In Poland the Germans killed almost all disabled Poles . . . The same applied in the occupied Soviet Union."35 With the assistance of the same Einsatzgruppen death squads who murdered hundreds of thousands of Jews in the first year of the war, some 100,000 people deemed "unworthy of life" were murdered at a single institution, the Kiev Pathological Institute in Ukraine.36 In all, pethaps a quarter of a million handicapped and disabled individuals died to further the Nazis' fanatical social-engineering scheme.

Figure 6A. 1 A farmer took this clandestine photo of smoke billowing from the cremarorium chimney of rhe Schloss Hartheim killing complex in Germany, as Aktion (Operation) T-4 — rhe mass murder of rhe handicapped — was underway in 1940—41. Hartheim was one of six main facilities for rhe Nazi "euthanasia" campaign, which served as a trial run for rhe Holocaust, including rhe use of gas chambers to kill victims.

Source: Wolfgang Schuhmann/United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.




The Slavs

The ethnic designation "Slav" detives from the same root as "slave," and that is the destiny to which Nazi policies sought to consign Poles, Russians, Ukrainians, White Russians (Belorussians), and other Slavic peoples. "The Slavs are a mass of born slaves, who feel the need of a master," Hitler declared, making clear his basically colonialist fantasies for the east: "We'll supply the Ukrainians with scarves, glass beads and everything that colonial peoples like."37

But if they wete primitive and contemptible, the Slavic "hordes" were also dangerous and expansionist — at least when dominated and directed by Jews (i.e., "Judeo-bolsheviks"). It may be argued that the confrontation with the Slavs was inseparable from, and as central as, the campaign against the Jews. Consider the words of Colonel-General Hoepner, commander of Panzer Group 4 in the invasion of the Soviet Union, on sending his troops into battle:

The war against the Soviet Union is an essential component of the German people's struggle for existence. It is the old struggle of the Germans against the Slavs, the defense of Eutopean culture against the Muscovite-Asiatic flood, the warding off of Jewish Bolshevism. This struggle must have as its aim the demolition of present Russia and must therefore be conducted with unprecedented severity. Both the planning and the execution of every battle must be dictated by an iron will to bring about a merciless, total annihilation of the enemy.38

The first victims of the anti-Slav genocide were, however, Polish. Hitler's famous comment, "Who, after all, talks nowadays of the annihilation of the Armenians?" (see Chapter 4), is often mistaken as referring to the impending fate of Jews in Nazi-occupied territories. In fact, Hitler was speaking just before the invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939, referring to commands he had issued to "kill without pity ot mercy all men, women, and children of Polish descent or language. Only in this way can we obtain the living space we need."39 Richard Lukas is left in little doubt of Nazi plans:

While the Germans intended to eliminate the Jews before the end of the war, most Poles would work as helots until they too shared the fate of the Jews. . . . The conclusion is inescapable that had the war continued, the Poles would have been ultimately obliterated either by outfight slaughter in gas chambers, as most Jews had perished, or by a continuation of the policies the Nazis had inaugufated in occupied Poland during the war — genocide by execution, forced labor, starvation, reduction of biological propagation, and Germanization.



Others dispute the claim that non-Jewish Poles were destined for annihilation. Nonetheless, as Lukas notes, "during almost six years of war, Poland lost 6,028,000 of its citizens, or 22 percent of its total population, the highest ratio of losses to population of any country in Europe." Nearly thtee million of the murdered Poles were Jews, but "over 50 percent. . . were Polish Christians, vic­tims of prison, death camps, raids, executions, epidemics, starvation, excessive wotk, and ill treatment."40 Six million Poles were also dispatched to toil in Germany as slave-laborers. The Soviets' depredations during their relatively brief occupation of eastern Poland (September 1939 to June 1941), and again after 1944, also contributed significantly to the death-toll (see Chapter 5).

As for the Slavs of Ukraine, Russia, and other parts of the Soviet Union, their suffering is legendary. A commonly cited estimate is that about twenty-seven million Soviet citizens died. The disproportionate number of militarized male victims would have "catastrophic . . . demographic consequences" for decades after, with women of the relevant age groups outnumbering men by two or even three to one.41 But two-thirds of the victims - about eighteen million people -were civilians.42 Exploitation of Slavs as slave laborers was merciless and genocidal. According to historian Catherine Merridale, "At least three million [Soviet] men and women (one famous Russian source gives a figure of over five million) were shipped off to the Reich to work as slaves. Many of these - prob­ably more than two million — wete worked so hard that they joined Europe's Jews in the death camps, discarded by the Reich for disposal like worn-out nags sent to the abattoit."43

Titanic Soviet sacrifices, and crushing military force, proved key to Nazi Germany's defeat, with the other Allies playing important supporting roles. Between the German invasion of the USSR in June 1941 and the D-Day inva­sion of France in June 1944, some 80 percent of German forces were deployed in the East, and the overwhelming majority of German military casualties occurred there. As Yugoslav partisan leader Arso Jovanovic put it at the time: "Over there on the Eastern front - that's the real war, where whole divisions bum up like matchsticks" - and millions of civilians along with them.44

Soviet prisoners-of-war

"Next to the Jews in Europe," wrote Alexander Werth, "the biggest single German crime was undoubtedly the extermination by hunger, exposure and in otherwaysof. . . Russian war prisoners."45 Yet the murder of at least 3.3 million Soviet POWs is one of the least-known of modem genocides; there is still no full-length book on the subject in English. It also stands as one of the most intensive genocides of all time: "a holocaust that devoured millions," as Catherine Merridale acknowledges.46 The large majority of POWs, some 2.8 million, were killed in j ust eight months of 1941-42, a rate of slaughter matched (to my knowledge) only by the 1994 Rwanda genocide.47



The Soviet men wete captured in massive encirclement operations in the early months of the German invasion, and in gender-selective round-ups that occutted in the newly occupied territories. All men between the ages of 15 and 65 were deemed to be prisoners-of-war, and liable to be "sent to the rear." Given that the Germans, though ptedicting victoty by such epic encirclements, had deliberately avoided making provisions for sheltering and feeding millions of prisoners, "sent to the rear" became a euphemism for mass murder.

"Testimony is eloquent and prolific on the abandonment of entire divisions under the open sky," wrote Alexander Dallin:

Epidemics . . . decimated the camps. Beatings and abuse by the guards were commonplace. Millions spent weeks without food or shelter. Carloads of prisoners were dead when they arrived at their destination. Casualty figures varied considerably but almost nowhere amounted to less than 30 percent in the winter of 1941-42, and sometimes went as high as 95 percent.48

A Hungarian tank officer who visited one POW enclosure described "tens of thousands of Russian prisoners. Many were on the point of expiting. Few could stand on their feet. Their faces were dried up and theit eyes sunk deep into their sockets. Hundreds were dying every day, and those who had any strength left dumped them in a vast pit."49 German guards took their amusement by "throwing a dead dog into the prisoners' compound," citing an eyewitness

Figure 6A.2 Soviet prisoners-of-war await their fate in Nazi captivity, summer or autumn 1941. Source: Hulton-Deutsch Collection/Corbis.



Figure 6A.3 Mass grave of Soviet prisoners, 1941—42. "The photos . . . wete found by chance during a search action. They are from the widow of a member of Landesschiitzenbataillon 432, which guarded the Dulag [= Durchgangslager, transit camp for POWs] 121 in Gomel. . . The photo in all probability shows a scene from the huge mass dying of the prisoners of war" (holocaustcontroversies. ).

Source: Klaus-Michael Mallmann et al., eds, Deutscber Osten 1939-1945: Der Weltanschauungskrieg in Photos und Texten (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 2003).

account: "Yelling like mad, the Russians would fall on the animal and tear it to pieces with their bare hands. . . . The intestines they'd stuff in their pockets - a sort of iron ration."50 Cannibalism was rife. Nazi leader Hermann Goering joked that "in the camps for Russian prisoners of war, after having eaten evetything possible, including the soles of their boots, they have begun to eat each other, and what is more serious, have also eaten a German sentry."51

Hundreds of thousands of Soviet prisoners were sent to Nazi concentration camps, including Auschwitz, which was originally built to house and exploit them. Thousands died in the first tests of the gas chamber complex at Birkenau. Like the handicapped and Roma, then, Soviet POWs wete guinea-pigs and stepping-stones in the evolution of genocide against the Jews. The overall estimate for POW fatalities - 3.3 million - is ptobably low. An important additional group of victims consists of Soviet soldiers, probably hundreds of thousands, who were killed shortly aftet sutrendering.

In one of the twentieth century's most ttagic ironies, the two million or so POWs who survived German incarceration were arrested upon repatriation to the USSR, on suspicion of collaboration with the Getmans. Most were sentenced to long terms in the Soviet concentration camps, where tens of thousands died in the final years of the Gulag (see Chaptet 5).



The Romani genocide (Porrajmos)

Perhaps more than any other group, the Nazi genocide against Romani (Gypsy) peoples* parallels the attempted extetmination of European Jews. Roma were subjected to vitulent racism in the centuries prior to the Holocaust - denounced as dirty, alien, and outside the bonds of social obligation. (Ironically, the Roma "were originally from North India and belonged to the Indo-Germanic speak­ing, or as Nazi racial anthropologists would have it, 'Aryan' people.")52

The grim phrase "lives undeserving of life," which most people associate with Nazi policy towards the handicapped and the Jews, was coined with reference to the Roma in a law passed only a few months after Hitler's seizure of power. Mixed marriages between Germans and Roma, as between "Aryan" Germans and Jews, were outlawed in 1935. The 1935 legislation against "hereditarily diseased progeny," the cornerstone of the campaign against the handicapped, specifically included Roma among its tatgets.

Figure 6A.4 Roma interned in the Nazis' Belzec death camp in Poland. Of all demographic groups in Europe, the Roma and Sinti — long known as "Gypsies" — were probably the only ones destroyed in rhe Nazi holocaust in about the same proportion as European Jews. Roma and Sinti remain vulnerable across much of Europe, from Ireland in the west (where they are known as "Travellers") ro Romania in rhe easr. They are widely depicted as a shiftless and/ot criminal element, and are liable to discrimination, harassment, and vigilante violence.53

Source: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

* The tetm "Gypsy" has derogatory connotations for some, and is now often substituted by Roma/Romani, a practice I follow here.



In July 1936, more than two years prior to the first mass round-up of Jewish men, Romani men were dispatched in their hundreds to the Dachau concen­tration camp outside Munich. (The measures were popular: Michael Burleigh noted "the obvious glee with which unwilling neighbours and local authofities regarded the removal of Sinti and Roma from their streets and neighbour­hoods.")54 While Hitler decreed a brief moratorium on anti-Jewish measures prior to the 1936 Berlin Olympics, raids were conducted in the vicinity of Berlin to capture and incarcerate Roma.

"On Combating the Gypsy Plague" was the title of a 1937 polemic by Heinrich Himmler, taking a break from his fulminations on homosexuals and Jews. It "marked the definitive ttansition from a Gypsy policy that was under­stood as a component of the extitpation of 'aliens to the community' ... to a persecution suigeneris."55The following year, the first reference to an endgiiltige Losung der Zigeunerfrage, a "total solution" to the Romani "question," appeared in a Nazi pronouncement.56 A thousand more Roma were condemned to con­centration camps in 1938.

A few months after the outbreak of the Second World War, some 250 Romani children at Buchenwald became test subjects for the Zyklon-B cyanide crystals latet used to exterminate Jews. In late 1941 and early 1942, about 4,400 Roma were deported from Austria to the death camp at Chelmno, where they were murdered in the mobile gas vans then being deployed against Jews in eastern Poland and the Soviet Union.57 Up to a quarter of a million more perished in Einsatzgruppen executions, "legitimised with the old prejudice that the victims were 'spies.'"58

In December 1942, Himmler decreed that Roma be deported to the most nototious of the death camps, Auschwitz-Birkenau. There they lived in a "family camp" (so named because Romani families, unlike Jewish ones, were not broken up), while the Nazi authorities decided what to do with them. A camp doctor who spoke with psychologist Robert Jay Lifton described conditions in the Romani barracks as "extraordinarily filthy and unhygienic even for Auschwitz, a place of starving babies, children and adults."59 Those who did not die from privation, disease, or horrific medical experiments were finally consigned to the gas chambers in August 1944. In all, "about 20,000 of the 23,000 German and Austrian Roma and Sinti deported to Auschwitz were killed there."60

When the toll of the camps is combined with Einsatzgruppen operations, the outcome in tetms of Romani mortality rates was not very different from the Jewish Holocaust. From a much smaller population, the Roma lost between 500,000 and 1.5 million of theit members in the catastrophe that they call the Porrajmos ("Devouring"). While the lower figure is standard, Romani scholar Ian Hancock argues that it is "grossly underestimated," failing to recognize the extent to which Romani victims of (fot example) the Einsatzgruppen death squads were designated as "partisans" or "asocials," or assigned other labels that tended to obscure ethnic identity.61 When to the camp victims are added the huge numbets of Roma — pethaps more than perished in the camps — who "were



murdered in the fields and forests where they lived,"62 the death toll may well match that of the Armenian genocide.

Until recent yeats, however, the Porrajmos has been little more than a footnote in histories of Nazi mass violence. In part, this reflects the fact that Roma constituted a much smaller proportion of the German and European population than did Jews — about 0.05 percent. In addition, most Roma before and after the Second World War were illiterate, and thus unable to match the outpouring of victims' testimonies and academic analyses by Jewish survivors and scholars. Finally, and relatedly, while anti-semitism subsided dramatically after the war, Roma continued to be marginalized and stigmatized by European societies, as they remain today.

The result, in historian Sybil Milton's words, was "a tacit conspiracy of silence about the isolation, exclusion, and systematic killing of the Roma, rendering much of current Holocaust scholarship deficient and obsolete."63 Even in contemporary Europe, Roma are the subject of violence and persecution; in a 2009 essay, Hancock declared that "anti-Gypsyism is at an all-time high."64 Only since the late 1970s has a civil-rights movement, along with a body of scholarly litetatute, arisen to confront discrimination and to memorialize Romani suffering during the Nazi era.

Germans as victims

For decades aftet the end of the Second World War, it was difficult to give voice to German suffering in the war. Sixty years aftet the war's end, it is easier to accept claims that the Germans, too, should be numbered among the victims of Nazism - and victims of Nazism's victims.

Predictably, the debate is sharpest in Germany itself (see further discussion in Chapter 14). Two books published in 2003 symbolized the new visibility of the issue. A novel by Nobel Prize-winning author Giintet Grass, Im Krebsgang (Crabwalk), centers on the twentieth century's worst maritime disaster: the torpedoing of the Wilhelm Gustloffhy a Soviet submarine, as the converted liner attempted to carry refugees (and some soldiers) from East Prussia to the German heartland, ahead of advancing Soviet armies. Nine thousand people died. In addition, a revisionist historian, Jorg Friedrich, published Brandstdtten (Fire Sites), a compendium of grisly, never-before-seen archival photographs of German victims of Allied fire-bombing (see Chapter 14).65

Estimates of the death-toll in the area bombing of German cities "range from about 300,000 to 600,000, and of injuries from 600,000 to over a million." The most destructive raids were those on Hamburg (July 27-28, 1943) and Dresden, "the German Hiroshima" (February 13, 1945).66 Both strikes resulted in raging fire-stotms that suffocated of incinerated almost all life within their radius. As discussed in Chapter 1, various genocide scholars have described these and other aerial bombardments as genocidal.



Among the estimated eight million German soldiers killed on all fronts during the war were those who died as prisoners-of-war in the Soviet Union. Many German POWs were executed; most wete sent to concentration camps where, like their Soviet counterparts, they died of exposure, starvation, and additionally overwork. "In all, at least one million German prisoners died out of the 3,150,000 [captured] by the Red Army," and this does not reflect those summarily shot before they could be taken prisoner.67 In one of the most egregious cases, of 91,000 Sixth Army POWs seized following the German surrender at Stalingrad in 1943, only 6,000 survived to be repatriated to Germany in the 1950s.68

A final horror inflicted on German populations was the reprisal killing and mass expulsion of ethnic Germans from the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, often from territories their forebears had inhabited for centuries. As early as September 1939, in the opening weeks of the Nazi invasion of Poland, an estimated 60,000 ethnic Germans were allegedly murdered by Poles.69 With the Getman army in retreat across the eastern front in 1944—45, large numbers of Germans fell prey to the vengeful atrocities of Soviet troops (notably in East Prussia) and local populations (especially in Poland and Czechoslovakia). Some twelve to fourteen million ethnic Getmans were uprooted, of whom about two million perished. Much of this occutred after the war had ended, under the aegis of Allied occupation authorities, as the philosopher Bertrand Russell noted in an October 1945 protest letter:

In Eastetn Europe now mass deportations are being carried out by our allies on an unprecedented scale, and an apparently deliberate attempt is being made to exterminate millions of Getmans, not by gas, but by depriving them of their homes and of food, leaving them to die by slow and agonizing starvation. This is not done as an act of war, but as a part of a deliberate policy of "peace. "70

Moreover, an agteement reached among the Allies at the Yalta Conference (February 1945) "granted war reparations to the Soviet Union in the form of labor services. According to German Red Cross documents, it is estimated that 874,000 German civilians were abducted to the Soviet Union." They suffered a higher casualty rate even than German prisoners-of-war, with some 45 percent dying in captivity.71


Michael Berenbaum, ed., A Mosaic ofVictims: Non-Jews Persecuted and Murdered by the Nazis. New York: New York University Press, 1990. Wide-ranging collection.

Michael Burleigh, Ethics and Extermination: Reflections on Nazi Genocide. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997. Essays on themes including "euthanasia," the German—Soviet war, and the racial state.



Henry Friedlander, The Origins of Nazi Genocide: From Euthanasia to the Final

Solution. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1995. Traces

the evolution of the Nazi killing machine from the initial targeting of

disabled and handicapped Germans to the mass slaughter of Jews and Roma. Robert Gellately and Nathan Stoltzfus, eds, Social Outsiders in Nazi Germany.

Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Ptess, 2001. Examines the Nazi

campaign against "unwanted populations." Gerhard Hirschfeld, ed., The Policies ofGenocide: fews and Soviet Prisoners ofrWar

in Nazi Germany. Boston, MA: Allen & Unwin, 1986. The links between

the fate of the Jews and the Soviet prisoners. Norman M. Naimark, The Russians in Germany: A History of the Soviet Zone

of Occupation, 1945-1949. Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press, 1995.

Especially strong on atrocities against German women and workers under

Soviet occupation.

Richard Plant, The Pink Triangle: The Nazi War against Homosexuals. New York: Owl, 1986. The persecution and killing of homosexuals, described by a refugee of the Nazi regime.

Alexander B. Rossino, Hitler Strikes Poland: Blitzkrieg, Ideology, and Atrocity. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 2003. First-rate survey of the Nazi rampage in Poland, which served as a trial run for the war against the Soviet Union.

Martin K. Sorge, The Other Price of Hitler's War: German Military and Civilian

Losses Resulting from World War II. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1986.

Concise account of German suffering in the war. Frederick Taylor, Dresden: Tuesday, February 13, 1945. New York:

HarperCollins, 2004. In-depth study of the Allied fire-bombing of the

histotic German city. Alfred-Maurice de Zayas, A Terrible Revenge: The Ethnic Cleansing of the East

European Germans, 1944—1950. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1994. The

atrocities against ethnic Germans, ably cataloged.


1 Chtistopher R. Browning, The Path to Genocide: Essays on Launching the Final Solution (Cambridge: Cambridge University Ptess, 1992), p. ix.

2 Heinrich Himmler's announcement of Dachau's opening, quoted in Arno J. Mayer, Why Did the Heavens Not Darken? The Final Solution in History (New York: Pantheon, 1988), p. 125.

3 Mayer, Why Did the Heavens Not Darken?, pp. 107-8.

4 According to Dominique Vidal, approximately 150,000 communists and left-leaning social democrats were incarcerated in concentration camps between 1933 and 1939. Vidal, "From 'Mein Kampf to Auschwitz," Le Monde diplomatique, October 1998.

5 Sywottek estimate cited in Adam LeBor and Roger Boyes, Seduced by Hitler: The Choices ofa Nation and the Ethics of Survival (New York: Barnes & Noble, 2000), p. 69.



6 Quoted in Saul Ftiedlandet, The Years of Extermination: Nazi Germany and the fews, 1939-1945 (New Yotk: HarperCollins, 2007), pp. 134-35.

7 "The 'work-shy' were [defined as] males medically fit to work, but who (without good teason) refused jobs on two occasions, or quit after a shott time." Robert Gellately, Backing Hitler: Consent and Coercion in Nazi Germany (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), p. 98.

8 Ibid., p. 96.

9 Ibid., pp. 60, 63, 68, 70.

10 Geoffrey J. Giles, "The Institutionalization of Homosexual Panic in the Third Reich," in R. Gellately and J. Stoltzfus, eds, Social Outsiders in Nazi Germany (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2001), p. 233.

11 "Lesbians were not subjected to formal persecution in the Third Reich, despite the fact that some zealous legal experts demanded this. ... In a state which extolled manly, martial roughness, lesbians were less of a thteat to the regime than men who subverted its crude stereotypes of'normal' male behaviour." Michael Burleigh and Wolfgang Wippermann, The Racial State: Germany 1933—1945 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), p. 268.

12 Richard Plant, The Pink Triangle: The Nazi War against Homosexuals (New York: Owl Books, 1988), p. 62.

13 Himmler quoted in ibid., pp. 89, 99.

14 Michael Burleigh, Ethics and Extermination: Reflections on Nazi Genocide (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), p. 162.

15 Quoted in Plant, The Pink Triangle, p. 102.

16 Ibid., p. 99.

17 Ibid., p. 149.

18 Quoted in ibid., p. 166.

19 Saul Friedlander, Nazi Germany and the Jews, Volume 1: The Years of Persecution, 1933-1939 (New York: HarperCollins, 1997), p. 206.

20 Konnilyn Feig, "Non-Jewish Victims in the Concentration Camps," in Michael Betenbaum, ed., A Mosaic of Victims: Non-fews Persecuted and Murdered by the Nazis (New Yotk: New Yotk University Ptess, 1990), p. 163.

21 Plant, The Pink Triangle, p. 154.

22 Gellately, Backing Hitler, p. 75.

23 Ibid. For Web links and a bibliography on the persecution and killings of Jehovah's Witnesses, see "A Teacher's Guide to the Holocaust: Jehovah's Witnesses," http.7/ f.edu/holocaust/people/VtctJeho.htm.

24 Wolfgang Sofsky, The Order of Terror: The Concentration Camp, ttans. William Templet (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1999), pp. 122-23.

25 Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison (New York: Touchstone, 1997). See also the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum page on Bonhoeffer's life and work at hmm.otg/museum/exhibit/online/bonhoeffer/.

26 Henry Friedlander, "The Exclusion and Murder of the Disabled," in Gellately and Stolzfus, eds, Social Outsiders in Nazi Germany, p. 146.

27 "Between 1907 and 1939, more than 30,000 people in twenty-nine [US] states were sterilized, many of them unknowingly or against theit will, while they were incarcerated in prisons or institutions lot the mentally ill." See "Handicapped: Victims of the Nazi Eta, 1933-1945," A Teacher's Guide to the Holocaust, f.edu/holocaust/ people/USHMMHAN.HTM.

28 Friedlander, "The Exclusion and Murder of the Disabled," p. 147.

29 An opponent of such views, Ewald Meltzer, the director of Katherinenhof juvenile asylum in Saxony, decided in 1925 "to carry out a poll of the views on 'euthanasia' held by the patents of his charges. To his obvious surprise, some 73 per cent of the



162 respondents said that they would approve 'the painless curtailment of the life of [theit] child if experts had established that it is suffering from incurable idiocy.' Many of the 'yes' respondents said that they wished to offload the butden repre­sented by an 'idiotic' child, with some of them expressing the wish that this be done surreptitiously, in a mannet which anticipated latet National Socialist practice." Butleigh, Ethics and Extermination, p. 121.

30 Recall that under the UN Convention definition of genocide, pteventing births within a group may be considered genocidal.

31 Burleigh, Ethics and Extermination, p. 123.

32 Ibid.

33 See '"Wheels Must Roll for Victory!' Children's 'Euthanasia' and 'Aktion T-4,'" ch. 3 in Michael Burleigh, Death and Deliverance: Euthanasia' in Germany c. 1900-1945 (London: Pan Books, 1994), pp. 97-127.

34 Sofsky, The Order of Terror, p. 243. Peter Fritzsche also points to the connections between the "euthanasia" campaign and the Holocaust that would erupt shottly aftet: "Figuring out by trial and error the various stages of the killing process, from the identification of patients to the aitangement of special transports to the murder sites to the killings by gas in special chambers to the disposal of the bodies, and mobilizing medical experts who worked in sectet with a variety of misleading euphemisms to conceal their work . . . the Nazis built important buteaucratic bridges that would lead to the extermination of Jews and Gypsies." Fritzsche, Life and Death in the Third Reich (Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University, 2008), p. 118.

35 Friedlander, "The Exclusion and Murder of the Disabled," p. 157.

36 Friedlander, The Origins of Nazi Genocide, p. 142.

37 Hitler quoted in Jiitgen Zimmerer, "The Birth of the Ostland out of the Spirit of Colonialism: A Postcolonial Perspective on the Nazi Policy of Conquest and Extermination," Patterns of Prejudice, 39: 2 (2005), p. 202. Raphael Lemkin recog-nized the colonialist cote of the Nazi enterprise: "Hitler's plan coveted the Poles, the Serbs, the Russians, the Frenchmen. . . . The main purpose of the Nazis was a commission of a Gfenocide] against nations in order to get hold of theit tetritory for colonisation purposes. This was the case of the Poles, and the Russians and the Ukrainians." Quoted in A. Dirk Moses, "Empire, Colony, Genocide: Keywords and the Philosophy of History," in Moses, ed., Empire, Colony, Genocide: Conquest, Occupation, and Subaltern Resistance in World History (New York: Berghahn Books, 2008), p. 21.

38 Quoted in Omer Bartov, Hitler's Army: Soldiers, Nazis, and War in the Third Reich (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992), p. 129.

39 Heinrich Himmler, tasked with engineering the destruction of the Polish people, parroted Hitlet in proclaiming that "all Poles will disappeat from the wotld. ... It is essential that the gteat German people should consider it as its majot task to destroy all Poles." Hitler and Himmler quoted in Richard C. Lukas, "The Polish Experience during the Holocaust," in Berenbaum, ed., A Mosaic of Victims, p. 89.

40 Lukas, "The Polish Experience," p. 90.

41 Orlando Figes, The Whisperers: Private Life in Stalin's Russia (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2007), p. 457.

42 Anthony Beevot, Stalingrad (New Yotk: Viking Press, 1998), p. 428.

43 Catherine Merridale, Lvan's War: Life and Death in the Red Army, 1939—1945 (New York: Picador, 2006), p. 291.

44 Quoted in Milovan Djilas, Wartime (New York: Harvest, 1980), p. 73. Omer Bartov has written: "It was in the Soviet Union that the Wehrmacht's back was broken long before the Western Allies landed in France, and even after June 1944



it was in the East that the Germans continued to commit and lose far more men. ... By the end of Match 1945 the Ostheers [Getman eastern front] casualties mounted to 6,172,373 men, ot double its original manpower on 22 June 1941, a figure which constituted fully four-fifths of the [Getmans'] total losses ... on all fronts since the invasion of the Soviet Union." Battov, Hitler's Army, pp. 29, 45. Alec Nove points out that more Russians died in the German siege of Leningrad alone (1941-43) "than the total of British and Americans killed from all causes thtoughout the wat." Nove, Stalinism and After (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1975), p. 93.

45 Alexander Werth, Russia at War, 1941-45 (New York: Carroll & Graf, 1999), p. 634.

46 Merridale, Ivan's War, p. 149.

47 If the upper-end estimates for those killed in Bangladesh genocide of 1971 are accurate (thtee million; see Box 8a), this might also match the intensiveness of Rwanda and the genocide against Soviet POWs.

48 Alexander Dallin, German Rule in Russia, 1941-45: A Study of Occupation Policies (2nd edn) (London: Macmillan, 1981), pp. 414-15; Omer Bartov, The Eastern Front, 1941—45: German Troops and the Barbarization of Warfare (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1985), p. 110.

49 Quoted in Wetth, Russia at War, pp. 635-36.

50 Merridale, Ivan's War, p. 290.

51 Goering quoted in Dallin, German Rule in Russia, p. 415.

52 Burleigh and Wippermann, The Racial State, p. 116.

53 See, e.g., Anna Porter, "Fascism: The Next Genetation," The Globe and Mail, May 9, 2009; "Bottom of the Heap," The Economist, June 21, 2008.

54 Burleigh, Ethics and Extermination, p. 167.

55 Michael Zimmermann, "The National Socialist 'Solution of the Gypsy Question,'" ch. 7 in Ulrich Herbert, ed., National Socialist Extermination Policies: Contemporary German Perspectives and Controversies (New York: Berghahn Books, 2000), p. 194.

56 Sybil H. Milton, '"Gypsies' as Social Outsidets in Nazi Germany," in Gellately and Stoltzfus, eds, Social Outsiders in Nazi Germany, p. 222.

57 Friedlander, The Years of Extermination, p. 317.

58 Burleigh and Wippermann, The Racial State, p. 125.

59 Robert Jay Lifton, The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide (New York: Basic Books, 1986), p. 161 (the quoted passage is Lifton's paraphrase).

60 Milton, '"Gypsies' as Social Outsiders," p. 226.

61 Ian Hancock, "Responses to the Porrajmos: The Romani Holocaust," in Alan S. Rosenbaum, ed., Is the Holocaust Unique? Perspectives on Comparative Genocide, 3rd edn. (Boulder, CO: Westview Ptess, 2009), p. 86.

62 Sybil Milton, "Holocaust: The Gypsies," in Samuel Totten et al, eds, Century of Genocide (New York: Garland Publishing, 1997), p. 188.

63 Ibid., p. 92.

64 Hancock, "Responses to the Poftajmos."

65 Giinter Grass, Crabwalk, trans. Krishna Winston (New York: Harvest, 2004); Jorg Friedrich, Brandstdtten (Berlin: Propylaen, 2003).

66 Eric Langenbacher, "The Allies in World War II: The Anglo-American Bombardment of German Cities," in Adam Jones, ed., Genocide, War Crimes and the West: History and Complicity (London: Zed Books, 2004), p. 118. See also Hermann Knell's study of the lesser-known attack on Wiirzburg in March 1945, To Destroy a City: Strategic Bombing and Its Human Consequences in World War II (Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press, 2003).

67 S.P. MacKenzie, "The Treatment of Prisoners mWoildWzr II," fournal of Modern History, 66:3 (September 1994), p. 511.



68 Beevor, Stalingrad, p. 430.

69 Martin K. Sorge, The Other Price of Hitler's War: German Military and Civilian Losses Resulting from World War IL (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1996), p. 89.

70 Russell cited in Alfred-Maurice de Zayas, A Terrible Revenge: The Ethnic Cleansing of the East European Germans, 1944-1950 (New York: St. Martin's Ptess, 1994), p. 111.

71 De Zayas, A Terrible Revenge, p. 116.


Cambodia and the Khmer Rouge


A prevalent view of Cambodia prior to the upheavals of the late 1960s and 1970s was of a "gentle land," with peaceful Buddhist authorities presiding over a free and relatively prosperous peasantry. This picture is far from false. Indeed, Cambodia was abundant in rice, and peasant landownership was comparatively common. But the stereotype overlooks a darker side of Cambodian history and culture: absolutism, a politics of vengeance, and a frequent recourse to torture. "Patterns of extreme violence against people defined as enemies, however arbitrarily, have very long roots in Cambodia," acknowledged historian Michael Vickery.1 Anthropologist Alex Hinton pointed to "a Cambodian model of disproportionate revenge" — "a head for an eye," in the title of his seminal essay on the subject - which was well entrenched by the time the Khmer Rouge communists took power in 1975.2

This is not to say that "a tradition of violence" detetmined that the Khmer Rouge (KR) would rule. In fact, until relatively late in the process, the movement was a marginal presence. Neither, though, was the Khmer Rouge an outright aberration. Certainly, the KR's emphasis on concentrating power and wielding it in tytannical fashion was in keeping with Cambodian tradition. "Absolutism ... is a core element of authority and legitimacy in Cambodia," wrote David Roberts.3 As for the sup­posedly pacific nature of Buddhism, the religion that overwhelmingly predominated in Cambodia, Vickery denounced it as "arrant nonsense." "That Buddhists may torture and massacre is no more astonishing than that the Inquisition burned people or that practicing Catholics and Protestants joined the Nazi SS."4



Another element of Cambodian history and politics is an aggressive nostalgia for past glories. Cambodia under the Angkor Empire, which peaked from the twelfth to the fourteenth centuries, was a powerful nation, incorporating sizable territories that today belong to neighbors. It extended to the South China Sea, and included southern regions of Vietnam as well as parts of present-day Laos, Thailand, and Burma. At the height of its powet, forced laborers built the great temples of Angkor Wat, the world's largest religious complex. Ever since, including for the Khmer Rouge, Angkor Wat has served as Cambodia's national symbol.

Cambodian nationalists harked back constantly to these halcyon days, and advanced irredentist claims with varying degrees of seriousness. Most significantly, the rich lands of today's southern Vietnam wete designated Kampuchea Krom, "Lower Cambodia" in nationalist discoutse - though they have been part of Vietnam since at least 1840. This rivalry with Vietnam, and a messianic desire to reclaim "lost" Cambodian territories, fueled Khmer Rouge fanaticism. The government led by the avowedly anti-imperialist Communist Party of Cambodia (the official name of the KR) proved as xenophobic and expansionist as any regime in modern Asian history.

By the nineteenth centuty, Cambodia's impetial ptowess was long dissipated, and the country easily fell under the sway of the French. On the pretext of creating a buffer between their Vietnamese territories, British-influenced Burma, and independent Siam (Thailand), the French established influence over the Court of King Norodom. The king, grandfather of Prince Norodom Sihanouk who would rule during the KR's early years, accepted protectorate status. He eventually became little more than a French vassal.

As elsewhere in their empire, France provoked nationalist sentiments in Cambodia - through economic exploitation and political subordination, but also through the efforts of French scholars who worked to "'recover' a history for Cambodia." This project bolstered "Khmer pride in their country's heritage," providing "the ideological foundation of the modern drive for an expression of an independent Khmer nation."5

Another French contribution to Khmer nationalism was the awarding of academic scholarships to Cambodians for study in Paris. In the 1950s, the French capital was likely the tichest environment for revolutionary ferment anywhere in the world. The French Communist Party, which had led the resistance to Nazi occupation, emerged as a powerful presence in postwar politics. In earlier years, Paris had nurtured nationalists from the French colonies, including Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh. The Paris of the 1950s likewise ptovided a persecution-free environment in which tevolutionaries from the Global South could meet and plot. Among the beneficiaries were most of the leaders of the future Khmer Rouge,6 including:

• Saloth Sar, who subsequently took the name Pol Pot, "Brother Number One" in the party hierarchy, and became Prime Minister of Democratic Kampuchea during the KR's period in power;

• Khieu Samphan, later President of Democratic Kampuchea (DK);

• Son Sen, DK's deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense and Security;



• leng Sary, deputy Prime Minister in charge of foreign affairs during the DK period;

• his wife, leng (Khieu) Thirith, Minister of Social Action for the DK regime.7

In retrospect, Khmer Rouge fanaticism was fueled by some of the ideological currents of the time. The French Communist Party was in its high-Stalinist phase, supporting campaigns against "enemies of the people." Intellectuals like Frantz Fanon, another denizen of Paris at the time, espoused the view "that only violence and armed revolt could cleanse the minds of Thitd World peoples and rid them of their colonial mentalities."8

The 1950s and 1960s were a period of nationalist ferment throughout the Global South. The government of Prince Norodom Sihanouk was positioning itself as an anti-colonialist, politically neutral force in Southeast Asia. Sihanouk was a leader of the Non-Aligned Movement that burst onto the world stage at the Bandung Conference in 1955.

Many returning students flocked to the Indochinese Communist Party, which united communist movements in Vietnam and Cambodia. Tensions soon developed between the two wings, however. Cambodians like Pol Pot felt they "had to catry excrement for the Vietnamese," according to Khieu Thirith.9 Following the 1954

200 km




Dangret Mts.






f—' * Angkor } Poipet

I Battambang L-


Siem Reap

. Tonle Sap s Lake




Stung Treng

Mekong River


Koh Kong":, . q



Gulf of Thailand

Phnom Penh








llMllIp] Delta'


Map 7.1 Cambodia

Source: Map provided .



Vietnamese victory over the French at Dien Bien Phu, and the signing of the Geneva Accords, the Vietnamese withdrew from Cambodia. As they did, they split the Cambodian party membership by transferring some 1,000 cadres to Vietnam, leaving another 1,000 in Cambodia - including Pol Pot and the future core leadership of the Khmer Rouge. This would have fateful consequences when teturning cadres who had spent their formative period in Vietnam were targeted by the KR for extermi­nation, together with all ethnic Vietnamese in Cambodia (or within reach on the other side of the border). In the case of Vietnamese remaining in Cambodia, the destruction was total.

In 1966, Sihanouk, whose police had been quietly implementing a campaign of "government mutder and repression" against communists in the countryside,10 launched a crackdown on members of the urban left whom he had not fully co-opted. Khieu Samphan and Hou Youn were forced underground. Not the least of the party's problems was its estrangement from Hanoi. The North Vietnamese regime chose to support the neutralist and anti-imperialist Sihanouk, rather than aid a rebellion by its Cambodian communist "brothers." Hanoi valued Sihanouk as a bulwark against US domination of Southeast Asia, and therefore as an ally in the Vietnamese national struggle. By contrast, Pol Pot's new Cambodian communist leadership considered Sihanouk a US lapdog. It decided to abandon political activity in the city for armed struggle in remote parts of the countryside, where the Khmet Rouge could nurture its revolution beyond Sihanouk's reach.


How did Cambodia's communists, politically marginal throughout the 1960s, man­age to seize national power in 1975? The explanation, according to Cambodia specialist David Chandler, lies in a combination of "accidents, outside help, and external pressures. . . . Success, which came slowly, was contingent on events in South Vietnam, on Vietnamese communist guidance, on the disastrous policies followed by the United States, and on blundets made by successive Cambodian governments."11

After the US invasion of South Vietnam in 1965, conflict spilled into Cambodia. Supplies from the North Vietnamese government, destined for the guerrillas of the National Liberation Front in the south, moved down the "Ho Chi Minh Trail" through Laos and eastern Cambodia. US bombing of the trail, including areas inside Cambodia, pushed Vietnamese forces deeper into Cambodia, until they came to control significant territory in border areas. The Vietnamese, prioritizing their own liberation sttuggle, urged restraint on their Cambodian communist allies. But in 1970, as war spread across Cambodia, the extension of Vietnamese power provided a powerful boost for the Khmer Rouge, including vital training. In the early 1970s, the Vietnamese fotces were inflicting far more damage on Cambodian government forces than was the KR.

The Vietnamese occupation of Cambodian border areas provoked two major responses from the United States, both central to what followed. First, in 1970, came



US support for a coup against Prince Sihanouk, whom the US saw as a dangerous socialist and neutralist. He was replaced by Lon Nol, Sihanouk's former right-hand man and head of the armed forces, a religious fanatic who believed that "Buddhist teaching, racial virtues, and modern science made the Khmers invincible."12 (Clearly, extreme chauvinism in Cambodia was not an invention of Democratic Kampuchea.) Lon Nol duly repaid his benefactors by inviting the US and South Vietnam to launch an invasion of Cambodian territory which lasted for thtee months.13

The significance of this action was outweighed by a second US response: the escalation, from 1970, of the saturation bombing campaign first launched against Vietnamese border sanctuaries in Cambodia in 1969. The campaign climaxed in 1973, a year that saw a quarter of a million tons of bombs dropped on Cambodia in just six months. This was one-and-a-half times as much high explosive as the US had unleashed on Japan during the whole of the Second World War - a country with which it was at least formally at war.

The impact was devastating. "We heard a terrifying noise which shook the ground," one villaget recalled; "it was as if the earth trembled, rose up and opened beneath our feet. Enormous explosions lit up the sky like huge bolts of lightning."14 After bombing raids, "villagers who happened to be away from home returned to find nothing but dust and mud mixed with seared and bloody body parts."15 Moteovet, the assault effectively destroyed the agricultural base of an agrarian nation - more effectively, in fact, than Stalin had with his collectivization drive against the Soviet peasantry (Chaptet 5). "The amount of acteage cultivated for rice dropped from six million at the beginning of the war to little mote than one million at the end of the bombing campaign," wrote Elizabeth Becker.16 Malnutrition was rampant, and mass starvation was kept at bay only by food aid from US charitable orga­nizations. (This should be borne in mind when the aftermath of the Khmet Rouge victory is considered, below.)'7

In the first edition of this book, I wrote that "the US bombing of a defenseless population" was "probably genocidal in itself," and unquestionably (quoting Michael Vickery) "one of the worst aggressive onslaughts in modern warfare." This was based on the best available estimate: that "between 1969 and 1973, more than half a million tons of munitions" had been unleashed on Cambodia. Data revealed since publication have decisively recast our understanding of the bombing campaign. According to Taylor Owen and leading Cambodia scholar Ben Kiernan, systematic analysis of US Air Force statistics shows that "from October 4, 1965, to August 15, 1973, the United States dropped far more ordnance on Cambodia than was previously believed: 2,756,941 tons' worth, dropped in 230,516 sorties on 113,716 sites."18 A simulta­neous discovery was that "the bombing began four years earlier than is widely believed," in 1965. The 1970-73 assaults accounted for a tonnage of munitions more than four times greater than previously recognized.

In The Pol Pot Regime (1996), Kiernan estimated the death toll inflicted by the bombing at between 50,000 and 150,000. He acknowledged in the wake of his subsequent research with Owen, however, that this was based upon an exttapolation from the tonnage then believed to have been dropped on civilian Cambodians. If that tonnage now needed to be revised upward substantially, Kiernan stated that the death toll, too, might need to be reassessed. This could bring total casualties closer to the



jaw-dropping figure of 600,000 proposed by Christopher Hitchens in The Trial of Henry Kissinger (2001).19

The US bombing of the Cambodian rural population was also the most important factor in bringing the genocidal Khmer Rouge to power. "Civilian casualties in Cambodia drove an enraged populace into the atms of an insurgency that had enjoyed relatively little support until the bombing began, setting in motion . . . the rapid rise of the Khmet Rouge, and ultimately the Cambodian genocide," wrote Owen and Kiernan.20 One KR leader who defected, Chhit Do, eloquently captured the political impact of the bombardment:

Every time aftet there had been bombing, [the Khmet Rouge guerrillas] would take the people to see the craters, to see how big and deep the craters were, to see how the earth had been gouged out and scorched. . . . The ordinary people . . . sometimes literally shit in their pants when the big bombs and shells came. . . . Their minds just froze up and they would wander around mute for three or four days. Terrified and half-crazy, the people were ready to believe what they were told. . . . That was what made it so easy for the Khmer Rouge to win the people over. ... It was because of their dissatisfaction with the bombing that they kept on cooperating with the Khmet Rouge, joining up with the Khmer Rouge, sending their children off to go with them.21

"This is not to say that the Americans are responsible for the genocide in Cambodia," as social ctitic Michael Ignatieff noted. "It is to say that a society that has been pulverised by war is a society that is very susceptible to genocide."22

Under the Paris Peace Accords of 1973, Vietnamese forces left Cambodia, but the focus of military opposition to the Lon Nol regime had already shifted to the Khmet Rouge. Buoyed by Vietnamese atms and training, they were now a hardened force — at least a match for poorly motivated and half-starved government conscripts. The KR moved rapidly to besiege Phnom Penh and othet cities. Meanwhile, in the ateas of the counttyside already under their control, they implemented the fitst stage of their distinctive - and destructive - revolutionary ideology.


In their jungle camps, the Khmer Rouge developed the philosophy that would guide theit genocidal program and turn Cambodia "into our time's arguably most mur­derous, brutal, inhuman small country."23 Let us consider the basic elements of this world view, and its consequences from 1975 to 1979:

Hatred of "enemies of the people." Like many communist revolutionaries of the twentieth century - notably those in the USSR and China - the KR exhibited a viscetal hatred of the revolution's enemies. As with Lenin-Stalin and Mao Zedong, too, "enemies" were loosely defined. They could be members of socioeconomic classes. The Khmer Rouge targeted the rich/ bourgeoisie;



professionals (including those who returned from abroad to help the new regime); "imperialist stooges" (collaborators with the US and its client regime in Phnom Penh); and the educated class. In effect, this swept up most urbanites. Enemies could also be designated on ethnic grounds. Just as Stalin waged genocide against the people of Ukraine and the Caucasus, so the Khmer Rouge exterminated ethnic Vietnamese, Chinese, Muslim Chams - in fact, almost every ethnic minof ity in Cambodia. (Even geographically defined Khmers were targeted for annihilation, such as those from southern Vietnam ot the "traitorous" Eastern Zone in 1978.) The enemy could also be religious believers seen to be out of step with the KR pseudo-religion that now ruled the roost.

Lastly, enemies could be purged on the basis of supposed subversion or betrayal of the revolution from within. Stalin's purges of the Soviet Communist Patty (Chapter 5) would be matched and exceeded, relative to population and party membership, by the Khmer Rouge's attacks on internal enemies. Xenophobia and messianic nationalism. As noted, the KR - in tandem with other Cambodian nationalists - harked back to the Angkor Empire. As is standard with nationalism, territorial claims reflected the zenith of power in the nation's past. Pol Pot and his tegime apparently believed in theit ability to teclaim the "lost" Cambodian territories of Kampuchea Krom in southern Vietnam. Territorial ambitions were combined with a fear and hatted of ethnic Vietnamese, seen both as Cambodia's historical enemy and the betrayer of Cambodian communism. The desire was imputed to Vietnamese to conquer Cambodia and destroy its revo­lution - a paranoid vision that harmonized with the Khmer Rouge's narcissistic sense of Cambodia as "the prize other powers covet."24

Racism and xenophobia produced an annihilationist ideology that depicted Cambodia's ethnic Vietnamese minority as a deadly internal threat to the survival of the Khmer nation. Khmer Krom from the hisrofically Cambodian territories of southern Vietnam were targeted with similar venom. Finally, the xenophobia led to repeated Cambodian invasions of Vietnamese tettitory in 1977 and 1978. These eventually sparked the Vietnamese invasion that over­threw the regime.

Peasantism, anti-urbanism, andprimitivism. Like the Chinese communists, but unlike the Soviets, the Khmer Rouge gleaned most of their support from rural rather than urban elements. Peasants were the guardians of the true and pure Cambodia against alien, cosmopolitan city-dwellets. However, the Khmef Rouge vision of the peasantry was misguided from the first. As Ben Kiernan pointed out, the DK tegime attacked the thtee foundations of peasant life: teligion, land, and family. The KR rejected the peasants' attachment to Buddhist religion; imputed to peasants a desire for agricultural collectivization that was alien to Cambodia; revived the hated corvee (forced labor); and sought to destabilize and dismantle the family unit.

The primitivist dimension of Khmer Rouge ideology seems to have been influenced by the tribal peoples among whom KR leaders lived in Cambodia's eastern jungles. These people, in particular the Khmer Loeu (highland Khmer), provided indispensable refuge and sustenance fot the party in its nascent period. "Pol Pot and leng Saty . . . claimed latet to have been inspired by the spirit of



people who had no private property, no markets, and no money. Their way of life and their means of production cotresponded to the primitive communist phase of social evolution in Marxist thinking," and likely influenced the KR decision to abandon the market and the money economy.25 Soldiers from the highland tribes played an important role in the KR's final campaign to crush the Lon Nol regime, but increasingly fell victim to the genocide against ethnic minorities under DK (see below).26

A bizarre aspect of KR primitivism was the conviction that no natural challenge was insuperable, no scientific accomplishment unattainable, if peasant energies and know-how were tapped. "The young are learning their science from the workers and peasants, who are the soutces of all knowledge," declared Radio Phnom Penh.27 "Formerly to be a pilot required a high school education - twelve to fourteen years," declared another classic piece of propaganda. "Nowadays, it's cleat that political consciousness is the decisive factor. ... As for radar, we can learn how to handle it after studying for a couple of months."28 Not surprisingly, the Khmer Rouge air force never amounted to much.

In Mao Zedong's "Great Leap Forward," an almost identical mentality had produced catastrophic outcomes (see Chapter 5). Undeterred, the DK regime announced that an even more impressive "Super Great Leap Forward" would be initiated in Cambodia. Like Mao's experiment, the Super Great Leap would be about self-sufficiency. Foreign help was neither desirable nor required, and even the Chinese model was dismissed. Indeed, the country would be all but sealed off from the outside world.29 • Purity, discipline, militarism. Like the Nazis, the Khmer Rouge expressed their racism through an emphasis on racial purity. Like the Soviets and Chinese, purity was also defined by class origin, and by an unswerving loyalty to revolutionary principle and practice. Self-discipline was critical. It demonstrated revolutionary ardor and self-sacrifice. In most revolutions of Left and Right, rigorous discipline has spawned an ideology of chaste sexuality — though this was not necessarily realized in practice. There is little question that the Khmer Rouge presided over a regime of "totalitarian puritanism"30 perhaps without equal in the twentieth century. Among other things, "any sex before marriage was punishable by death in many cooperatives and zones."31

Discipline among revolutionaries also butttesses the inevitable military con­frontation with the counter-revolution. Ben Kiernan and Chanthou Boua consider militarism to be the defining feature of Khmer Rouge rule, reflected in "the forced evacuation of the cities, the coercion of the population into economic programmes organized with military discipline, the heavy reliance on the armed forces rather than civilian cadres for administration, and the almost total absence of political education or attempts to explain administrative decisions in a way that would win the psychological acceptance of the people affected by them."32

Some of the ironies and contradictions of Khmer Rouge ideology should be noted. Despite their idealization of the peasants, no senior Khmer Rouge leader was of peasant origin. Virtually all wete city-bred intellectuals. Pol Pot came from the countryside, but from a prosperous family with ties to the Royal Court in Phnom Penh. As noted earlier, the core leadership belonged to a small, privileged



intellectual class able to study overseas on government scholarships. These racist chauvinists, opposed to any foreign "interference" including aid, were by back­ground among the most "cosmopolitan" Cambodians in history. The genocide they inflicted on intellectuals and urban populations in general, as well as on hundreds of thousands of peasants, was hypocritical as well as indelibly brutal.


Throughout world histoty, human civilization has meant utbanization (the Latin civitas is the etymological root of both "city" and "civilization"). "Cities," wrote Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, "are the principal sites of modernity, of economic productivity, of technological productivity."33 They are also, as political scientist Allan Coopet noted in The Geography of Genocide, sites of "hybridity" and cultural mixing. Coopet considered genocide a "fundamentally anti-city" phenomenon, pointing to the regu­larity with which genocidal perpetrators focus their assaults on urban environments, seeking to destroy them as symbols of gtoup identity and social modernity.34 Such campaigns are often accompanied by depictions of cities as cesspools of corruption and of foreign-affiliated cliques, requiring "cleansing" and "purifying" by genocidal agents.

These "deliberate attempts at the annihilation of cities as mixed physical, social, and cultural spaces"35 constitute urbicide?6The term was originally popularized in the Serbo-Croatian language, by Bosnian architects, to describe the Serb assault on Sarajevo and the Croat attack on Mostar during the Balkan wats of the 1990s (see pp. 334—35). There are numerous historical precedents. A classical example is the Roman siege and obliteration of Carthage (see Chapter 1). Significantly, this was preceded by an ultimatum that the Carthaginians abandon their city for the counttyside. When the ultimatum failed to produce the desired results, the Romans made plain their opposition to Carthage as a city. They razed it to rubble, and consigned the surviving population to slavery around the known world.

Apart from the Balkans case, contemporary examples of urbicide include the Nazi assaults on Leningrad and Stalingrad during the Second World War; the Syrian assault on the tebellious city of Hama in 1982; and the Russian obliteration of Grozny in Chechnya (1994-95). There are few more vivid instances, however, than the policy imposed by the Khmet Rouge on Phnom Penh and other cities in March 1975. "For most of the people in Cambodia's towns what happened during those few days literally overturned their lives."37

Within hours of arriving in the capital, the Khmer Rouge set about rounding up its two million residents and deporting them to the countryside. Bedraggled caravans of deportees headed back to theit old life (in the case of refugees from rural areas) or to a new one of repression and privation (for urbanites). Similar scenes occurred in othet population centets nationwide. Without damage to a single building, whole cities were desttoyed.

To residents, the Khmer Rouge justified the deportations on the grounds that the Americans were planning bombing attacks on Cambodian cities. (Given recent history, this was not an inconceivable prospect.) To an international audience - on



the tate occasions when KR leaders bothered to provide rationales — the urbicide was depicted as a humanitarian act. With the end of the US aid that had fed swollen city populations, albeit inadequately, "the population had to go where the food was," in the words of leng Sary.38 But this excuse faltered in light of the KR's obstinate emphasis on self-sufficiency. Most revealingly, foreign donations of food and other aid went unsolicited, and were rejected when offered. And there is no doubting the murderous destructiveness of the forced marches themselves, in which "the Khmer Rouge intentionally killed and drove to death many tens of thousands of people, perhaps as many as 400,000 people."39

After the urbicide, and for the remainder of the DK period, Phnom Penh and other cities remained ghost towns. They were inhabited by only a skeleton crew of KR leaders, cadres, and support staff. The countryside thus served as the backdrop for the Khmer Rouge assault on Cambodia's culture and people.


The peasantry, the base of Khmer Rouge support, wete depicted as "base" people {neak moultanh). Deported city-folk wete "new" people (neak thmey), late arrivals to the revolution. In a sense, though, all of Cambodia was new and revolutionary in the Khmer Rouge conception. The yeat 1975 was declared "Year Zero" — a term that evokes the nihilistic core of KR policies.

The reception that awaited new people varied significantly, in ways that decisively affected theit survival chances. Some reports attested to a reasonably friendly welcome from peasants. In other cases, the peasants — who had suffered through the savage US bombing campaign and the violence and upheaval of civil war — felt the new-comets had received a just comeuppance. This feeling was bolstered by the preferential tteatment the base people received from most KR authorities. Srey Pich Chnay, a Cambodian former urbanite, described his experiences to Kiernan and Boua in 1979:

The Khmer Rouge treated the peasants as a separate group, distributing more food to them than to the city people, and assigning them easier tasks (usually around the village), whereas the city people almost always wotked in the fields. Sometimes the peasants, as well as the Khmet Rouge themselves, would say to the newcomers, "You used to be happy and prosperous. Now it's out turn."40

The memoir of Loung Ung, who was a young girl in the KR petiod, conveyed the tension of this confrontation between different worlds, and the experience, unfamiliar to an urbanite, of finding hetself despised:

The new people ate considered the lowest in the village structure. They have no freedom of speech, and must obey the other classes. The new people . . . cannot farm like the rural people. They are suspected of having no allegiance to the Angkar [i.e., the KR leadership] and must be kept under an ever-watchful eye fot signs of rebellion. They have led corrupt lives and must be trained to be productive



workers. To instill a sense of loyalty . . . and break what the Khmer Rouge views as an inadequate urban work ethic, the new people are given the hardest work and the longest hours.41

There is the flavot here of subaltern genocide, a "genocide by the oppressed" against those seen as opptessors, and indeed the anthropologist and Cambodia specialist Alex Hinton has explored the KR period in these tetms.42 Michael Vickery argued that the DK period was characterized above allhy the revolutionary tettor of the peasantty against urbanites and the intellectual/professional classes: "It is certainly safe to assume that [KR leaders] did not foresee, let alone plan, the unsavoty developments of 1975—79. They were petty-bourgeois radicals overcome by peasant romanticism."45

However, there are difficulties with this framing. One, as Kiernan has pointed out, is that Vickery's informants were predominantly «<?«-peasants, poorly placed to describe the dynamics of a peasant revolution. Another is that, as we have seen, power was centralized in a leadership that was overwhelmingly urban and intellectual. Even at the regional and local level, where KR cadres with a peasant background were more likely to hold sway, there is little evidence that their policies responded to a gtoundswell of peasant resentment. Rather, they reflected instructions and frame­works supplied by the center, with subaltern animosities channeled into genocidal duties. "By 1977," wrote Kiernan, "the DK system was so tightly organized and controlled that little spontaneous peasant activity was possible,"44 but there was no shortage of peasant involvement - and eaget, virulently hostile involvement too - in the genocide against designated class enemies.


Out brothets and sisters of all categories, including workers, peasants, soldiers, and revolutionary cadres have worked around the clock with soating enthusiasm, paying no attention to the time or to their fatigue; they have worked in a cheerful atmosphete of revolutionary optimism.

Radio Phnom Penh broadcast undet the KR

There were no laws. If they wanted us to walk, we walked; to sit, we sat; to eat, we ate. And still they killed us. It was just that if they wanted to kill us, they would take us off and kill us.

Cham villager interviewed by Ben Kiernan

In Cambodia between 1975 and 1978, the KR's genocidal ideology found full expression. The result was one of the worst genocides, relative to population, in recorded history. In less than four years — mostly in the final two — mass killing swept the Cambodian population. In patt it resulted from direct KR murders of anyone perceived as an enemy. Internal purges reached a crescendo in 1977—78, claiming hundreds of thousands of lives. Even more significant, though, were the indirect killings through privation, disease, and ultimately famine. These swelled the death-toll to an estimated 1.7 to 1.9 million, out of a population estimated at just under



eight million in April 1975. Between 21 and 24 percent of the entire Cambodian population died in the short period under discussion.45

Most scholars accept that "complex regional and tempotal variations" were evident under the KR.46 Tempotally, life in many regions appears to have been spartan but toletable for most of the fitst two years of KR rule. State terror had yet to descend with full force. Thousands of executions certainly accompanied the forced evacua­tions of Phnom Penh and othet cities, and more took place in the countryside, but there ate also accounts of modetate and teasonable Khmer Rouge cadres.

Then things changed. "Most survivors of DK agree that living conditions (that is, tations, working hours, disruptions to family life, and the use of terror) deteriorated sharply in 1977." Chandler pointed to three reasons for the shift: "the regime's insistence on meeting impossible agricultural goals at a breakneck pace"; growing leadership paranoia about "plots"; and, furthet fueling that paranoia, the mounting conflict with Vietnam.47 The most exterminatory period was probably the final one: in 1978, prior to Vietnam's successful invasion in December. The repression visited upon the Eastern Zone over the pteceding months had turned it into a graveyard, with up to a quarter of a million people killed.48

The extent of tegional variation in Democratic Kampuchea is one of the most hotly debated aspects of the KR regime. Michael Vickery has argued that "almost no two regions were alike with respect to conditions of life":

The Southwestern and Eastern Zones, the most important centets of pre-1970 communist activity, wete the best organized and most consistently administered, with the East, until its destruction in 1978, also providing the more favorable conditions of life, in particular for "new" people. In contrast, the West, the Northwest, except for [the region of] Damban 3, and most of the North-Center, were considered "bad" areas, where food was often short, cadres arbitrary and mur­derous, and policy rationales entitely beyond the ken of the general populace.49

Other scholars, however, emphasize the "unchanging charactet" and "highly cen­tralized control" that marked KR rule.^0 Central direction was certainly evident in the establishment and operation of three key genocidal institutions: the forced-labor system, the mass executions, and the internal purge.


"Work, rain, hunger. It was the hunger that tormented us the most: all we could think of was finding something to appease the gnawing of our stomachs. I was fifteen years old."

Molyda Szymusiak (the name she was given by her adoptive Polish parents) grew up as a privileged member of Cambodian society - the daughter of a prominent member



of the government that battled the Khmer Rouge until the guerrillas seized power in Phnom Penh on April 17, 1975. "Suddenly we heard cheering and triumphant cries: 'Kampuchea [revolutionary Cambodia] is free!' . . . Down the center of the pavement, in single file, were marching kids in black pants and jackets, their guns on their shoulders, wearing sandals made out of pieces of tires. Without a word or a smile, they stared straight ahead."

Along with the entire urban population of Phnom Penh, Molyda and her family were rounded up and ordered out of the city - allegedly for only "two or three days." She had been warned before the exodus to keep her class origins absolutely secret: a sympathetic Khmer Rouge soldier told her, "Never say that you are of bourgeois origin or that you have had any trade other than a manual one. All such people will be liquidated."

The family headed east along the Mekong river, following Route Number 1. Finding temporary refuge in a rural village, "Our mothers went to work in the fields. Father was sent to help demolish the pagoda, breaking down the walls, and decapitating the Buddhas" - part of the Khmer Rouge's "Year Zero" project to strip Cambodians of their past and traditional culture.

Molyda had never worked a day in her life. Now, under the watchful eye of her Khmer Rouge overlords, she planted rice and dried out green branches for firewood. "Learn," a villager told her, "or you won't survive." "It was forbidden to eat three times a day, since rice had to be economized until the next harvest. It was forbidden to use perfume, or to keep items that came from the city ... It was forbidden to wear colored skirts. . . . Everything we had been used to had been turned upside down."

Exhausted, ravaged by hunger and malaria, the family was shifted from worksite to worksite, moving west to the area around Lake Sap. On one such journey, Molyda caught a glimpse of what would become infamous as the "killing fields" of the Khmer Rouge. Collecting water from a pond, "we saw hands sticking up from the surface, and swollen corpses floating a bit farther on; severed heads and hands were piled up on the bank. .. . There were dozens of corpses strewn every which way at the water's edge, and a stomach-turning stench."

Hunger turned to starvation. "A baby was dying over at our neighbor's. . . The child's mother suggested to my mother that they eat the baby when it died. 'If you don't denounce me, I'll give you half.'" The would-be cannibal was discovered with the remains of her infant in the cooking pot. She "was led away, never to be seen again in the village."

Molyda's father, saving his meager rations to divide among the family, eventually succumbed on the same day as her Aunt Nang. Her mother died soon after: "Now



I was alone." But no mourning was permitted. Molyda was told she was now a "Daughter of Pol Pot," and owed all to the glorious revolution. She was put to road-building - a "useless and exhausting task," since basic engineering principles were ignored. No matter: she was exhorted by Khmer Rouge who "shouted slogans of triumph and encouragement: let's forge ahead! The Angkar [supreme revolutionary authority] is watching us! We love our country!'"

"I vomited, I was cold, I was burning up" with sickness, but the Khmer Rouge mocked her: "So, you're sick? . . . You know we have no use for sick people here. Perhaps you'll get better if we put you in a bag!" - suffocation being the preferred method of execution, to preserve bullets. But the threats ceased to frighten her: "We'd spent so much time with death we weren't afraid of it anymore."

Denunciations and brutal interrogations isolated those who came from privileged or otherwise suspect backgrounds. Molyda witnessed "a group of about fifty people herded along . . . Their wrists were tied in front or behind their backs with cords of red nylon. . . . They began screaming and wailing: they understood that they wouldn't receive even the pretense of a trial. . . . Prisoners and their torturers followed one another out under the orange trees until nightfall. ... In a corner of the courtyard a man was being beaten to death. His screams flew up to the sky, shattered, and rained down on me like hail battering my skull. Farther away, a column of people was beginning to move toward the grove concealing the gaping mass grave."

She was saved only by the Vietnamese invasion, which pushed the Khmer Rouge into jungle hideouts in the west of the country. Amidst the chaos and breakdown of authority, Molyda and her fellow laborers made their way along mine-laden trails to the Thai border, where she found refuge at the Kao I Dang camp. Eventually she and two cousins were flown to France, where they were adopted by Jan and Carmen Szymusiak, themselves refugees from communist-ruled Poland. "We have been most fortunate in the love and understanding of our adoptive parents," Molyda wrote in her autobiographical account, The Stones Cry Out.51 But "the years of slavery, fear, and starvation have left their mark deep within us."

Forced labor imposed a work regime that was unptecedented in modern Cambodia. Both base people and new people arose before dawn and were allowed to rest only after dark.52 Food was distributed exclusively in communal kitchens, and after the 1975-76 interlude thete was almost never enough. What could be harvested was mostly confiscated by KR cadres. The population could not buy extra supplies: money and markets were outlawed. They could not supplement tations with produce from their own plots, since private property was banned. They could not engage - legally, at least - in traditional foraging for alternative food soutces. Any attempt to do so was seen as "sabotaging" the work effort, and was severely punished. They could not even draw upon networks of family



solidarity and sharing. Although the KR nevet banned the family per se, they invigilated and eroded it by various means.53

Those who fell sick from overwork and malnutrition, ot from the malaria that spread across Cambodia when the KR decided to refuse imports of pesticide, had little hope of treatment. Medicine was scarce, and usually reserved for the KR faithful. In addition, former urban residents from the Southwestern Zone, one of six main administtative zones in the DK, were again relocated to the Northwestern Zone. Some 800,000 people were dumped in the northwest with desperately inadequate provisions. Perhaps 200,000 died of starvation, or in the mass killings that descended in 1978 when cadres imported from the Southwestern Zone imposed a new round of purges (described below). Mass executions. These were conducted against "class enemies," on the one hand, and ethnic minorities on the other. Suspect from the start, "new people" were the most likely Khmer victims of such atrocities. Frequently, entire families would be targeted. "The Khmer Rouge actually had a saying . . . which encouraged such slaughter: 'To dig up grass, one must also dig up the roots' {chik smav trauv chik teangreus). . . . This phtase meant that cadres 'were supposed to "dig up" the entire family of an enemy - husband, wife, kids, sometimes from the grandparents down - so that none remained ... to kill off the entire line at once so that none of them would be left to seek revenge latet, in turn."'54 A witness, Bunhaeng Ung, described one such execution:

Loudspeakers blared revolutionary songs and music at full volume. A young girl was seized and raped. Othets were led to the pits where they were slaughtered like animals by striking the backs of theit skulls with hoes or lengths of bamboo. Young children and babies were held by the legs, their heads smashed against palm trees and their broken bodies flung beside their dying mothers in the death pits. Some childten were thrown in the air and bayoneted while music drowned their screams. ... At the place of execution nothing was hidden. The bodies lay in open pits, rotting under the sun and monsoon rains.55

These were the "killing fields" made infamous by the 1985 film of the same name (Box 7.2). How many died in such executions is uncertain, but it was doubtless in the hundreds of thousands.

Violent internal purges were a feature of KR insurgent politics well before the revolutionary victory. But after Democratic Kampuchea was established, the leadership's paranoia increased, and the zeal for purges with it. Pol Pot declated before a party audience in 1976 that "a sickness [exists] inside the party": "As our socialist revolution advances . . . seeping more strongly into every corner of the patty, the army and among the people, we can locate the ugly microbes."56 The language was strikingly similar to that employed by Stalin's henchmen against "enemies of the people" in the 1930s.

During the DK period, two major regional purges occurred. Both were carried out by Ta Mok, nicknamed "The Butcher" for his efforts. The first, as noted above, occurred in 1977-78 in the Northwestern Zone. The second, more of a



iff-: )

Figure 7.1 A cell in the Tuol Sleng S-21 detention and torture centet in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Some 20,000 prisoners passed through S-21; only six are known ro have survived. When Viernamese forces liberared Phnom Penh early in 1979, they discoveted days-old corpses srill shackled ro rhis and other bedframes in the facility - the last victims of S-21.

Source: Author's photo, July 2009.

Figure 7.2 Victims of Khmer Rouge purges, after incarceration and interrogation at Tuol Sleng and other cenrers, were execured in rhe "killing fields," now key memorial sites of the Cambodian genocide.

Source: Greg Vassie/Flickr.

"conventional military suppression campaign,"57 was launched in May 1978 against the sensitive Eastern Zone bordering Vietnam. The east, "the heart­land of Khmer communism," was the best-administered zone in the countty; but the Phnom Penh authorities viewed its tesidents and cadres as "Khmer bodies with Vietnamese minds."58 The campaign pushed the Eastern Zone into open rebellion against the center, and finally into the arms of Vietnam. Eastern Zone rebels would give a "Cambodian face" to the Vietnamese invasion at the end of the year, and to the People's Republic of Kampuchea which it established.

Tens of thousands of victims of these and other purges passed through KR centers established for interrogation, torture, and execution. The most notorious was Tuol Sleng in the capital, codenamed "S-21," where an estimated 14,000 prisoners were incarcerated during the KR's feign. Only ten are known to have survived.59 Now a Museum of Genocide in Phnom Penh, Tuol Sleng was one of many such centers across Democratic Kampuchea (see Figutes 7.1, 7.5, 7.6).



As in Mao's China and Stalin's USSR, the purges fed on themselves, and under­mined the capacity of the revolution to resist its enemies. Just as Stalin's purges of the Soviet military and bureaucracy increased the country's vulnerability to Nazi invasion, the Khmer Rouge killing sprees paved the way for Vietnam's rapid conquest of Cambodia in 1978.


Early commentaries on Khmer Rouge atrocities emphasized the targeting of class and political enemies. Subsequent scholarship, especially by Ben Kiernan, has revealed the extent to which the KR also engaged in genocidal targeting of religious groups and ethnic minorities.

Cambodian Buddhism suffered immensely under the genocide: "the destruction was nearly complete, with more devastating consequences for Cambodia than the Chinese attack on Buddhism had had for Tibet" (Chapter 5).60 Religious institutions were emptied, often obliterated. Monks were sent to the countryside or executed. "Of the sixty thousand Buddhist monks, only three thousand were found alive after the Khmer Rouge reign; the rest had either been massacred or succumbed to hatd labor, disease, or torture."61

A patchwork of ethnic minorities, together constituting about 15 percent of the population, was exposed to atrocities and extermination. Local Vietnamese were most virulently tatgeted. Kiernan offers the stunning estimate that fully 100 percent of ethnic Vietnamese perished under the Khmer Rouge.61The Muslim Chams were despised for their religion as well as their ethnicity. "Their religion was banned, their schools closed, their leaders massacred, their villages razed and dispersed."63 Over one-third of the 250,000 Chams alive in April 1975 perished under DK.64

As for Cambodia's Chinese population, it was concentrated in the cities, and it is sometimes hard to distinguish repressive action based on racial hatred from repression against the urbanite "new people." Regardless, in DK this group "suffered the worst disaster ever to befall any ethnic Chinese community in Southeast Asia."65 Only half the Chinese population of 430,000 at the outset of Khmer Rouge rule survived to see its end.

The grim tale of minority suffering under the Khmer Rouge does not end there. "The Thai minority of 20,000 was reportedly reduced to about 8,000. Only 800 families survived of the 1,800 families of the Lao ethnic minority. Of the 2,000 members of the Kola minority, 'no trace . . . has been found.'"66




Figure 7.3 Dith Pran (left), the journalist whose odyssey under the Khmer Rouge inspired rhe 1984 film The Killing Fields, poses wirh Haing S. Ngor, himself a survivor of the Cambodian genocide, who won an Oscar for his performance as Dith in the film. The two were photographed on a joinr return ro Phnom Penh in 1986.

Source: Magnum Photos/Steve McCurry.

In the early 1980s, Cambodia/Kampuchea struck most Westerners, if it struck them at all, as a somehow undifferentiated humanitarian crisis. The Killing Fields, a British film directed by Roland Joffe and released in 1984, changed all that. "In a matter of months," wrote Elizabeth Becker, "The Killing Fields catapulted Cambodia from Cold War politics to mass culture. Black-pajamaed Khmer Rouge joined the brown-shirted Nazis as recognizable villains of the twentieth century. The term killing fields became part of the American vocabulary."67 It remains so today, as a generic descriptor for the mass gravesites that symbolize atrocity zones worldwide.

The Killing Fields is arguably the greatest dramatic film about genocide, though votes for Schindler's List will be counted. It tells the story of Dith Pran (pictured at left in Figure 7.3), who worked as an assistant and translator for New York Times journalist Sydney Schanberg during and after the fall of Phnom Penh to the Khmer Rouge in April 1975. Sending his family to safety in the US, Dith stayed behind. On one occasion, he risked his life to save Schanberg's and that of two cohorts, including Al Rockoff (see Figure 7.4), threatened with execution by Khmer Rouge cadres. When Schanberg and other foreigners took refuge in the French embassy, Dith was forced



to leave, and began a journey to the heart of the "killing fields." (It was Dith, in fact, who coined that iconic term to describe his ordeal.)68

The Killing Fields follows Dith as he is drafted as a forced laborer, reduced to a filthy, malnourished state, and forced to witness the depravities of the Khmer Rouge regime up close. Dith's trajectory was depicted by Haing S. Ngor (at right in Figure 7.3) -himself a Cambodian refugee and genocide survivor. Ngor's performance would win him an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor; he told his personal story of suffering and survival in a memoir, A Cambodian Odyssey (1987). Tragically, Ngor, who had endured four years under the Khmer Rouge, was killed in a street hold-up in Los Angeles in February 1996. For his part, after his successful escape from Cambodia and reunion with Schanberg, Dith Pran rejoined the staff of The New York Times as a photographer, and became a regular speaker on genocide prevention. He died of pancreatic cancer in March 2008.

In 2009, on my first visit to Phnom Penh, I was introduced to none other than Al Rockoff, the US photojournalist played by John Malkovich in The Killing Fields. Over a couple of drinks, Rockoff (see Figure 7.4) derided the movie for portraying him as failing to "fix" a passport image for Dith Pran, thus guaranteeing Dith's expulsion from the French embassy. It never happened, Rockoff insisted; he would never be so amateurish. But he allowed that the heart-stopping scene in which he, Schanberg, British journalist Jon Swain, and Dith are detained and nearly gunned down by the Khmer Rouge captured events very much as they had unfolded. It was one of several

Figure 7.4 Al Rockoff, Killing Fields photojournalist (John Malkovich's character), at a Mexican cantina in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Source: Author's photo, May 2009.



occasions during the Indochina wars when Rockoff nearly died prematurely. He is currently working on a photo project documenting the lives of Cambodians in peacetime.

In his memoir, Haing Ngor wrote that until The Killing Fields came out, "relatively few people knew what had happened in Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge years - intellectuals and Asia experts had, maybe, but not the general public. The film put the story of those years in terms that everybody could understand."69 As such, it remains a classic instance of a cultural product becoming so intertwined with the events it describes that it can be difficult for the layperson to separate them. How many people, one wonders, have mistaken the survivor and original inspiration Dith Pran for Haing Ngor, the survivor who immortalized him on film?


On December 25, 1978, 150,000 Vietnamese soldiers, accompanied by 15,000 Cambodian rebels and air support, crossed the border of Democratic Kampuchea and seized Phnom Penh in two weeks. The Khmer Rouge leadership fled to sanctuaries in western Cambodia and across the botdet in Thailand.70 It used these for the next decade-and-a-half as it fought to return to power at the head of a coalition of forces opposed to Vietnamese occupation. (Prince Sihanouk, who had spent most of the DK years under defacto house arrest in Phnom Penh, setved as figurehead for the coalition from 1982.) Meanwhile, former KR leaders, the rebels from the Eastern Zone, wete appointed as Vietnamese surrogates to run the new People's Republic of Kampuchea (PRK). While Heng Samrin was appointed president, real power eventually fell into the hands of his former subordinate in the Eastern Zone, Hun Sen.

Throughout the 1980s, in one of the twentieth century's "more depressing episodes of diplomacy,"71 the Western world moved from branding the Khmer Rouge as communist monsters to embracing them as Cambodia's legitimate representatives. At the United Nations, the US led a push to grant Cambodia's General Assembly seat to the anti-Vietnamese coalition dominated by the Khmer Rouge. Why this Orwellian flip-flop? US hostility to Vietnam was still pronounced after the US defeat of 1975. An enemy of Vietnam was America's friend, regardless of its sanguinary past. In the words of US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, speaking to the Thai Foreign Minister Chatichai Choonhavan a few months aftet the Khmer Rouge takeover

We ate aware that the biggest threat to Southeast Asia at the present time is North Vietnam . . . Cambodia [is] a barrier to the Vietnamese. . . . You should . . . tell the Cambodians that we will be friends with them. They are murderous thugs, but we won't let that stand in our way.72

Thus one witnessed the anomalous sight, throughout the 1980s, of genocidal com­munists receiving some of their firmest backing from Washington, DC. China was



Figure 7.5 and 7.6 Two photos of victims of "S-21," the Tuol Sleng tortute and execution center in Phnom Penh, today a Museum of Genocide. Only ten inmates out of 14,000 are known ro have survived incarceration at Tuol Sleng. The Khmer Rouge carefully registered and photogtaphed the prisoners; roday, these images serve as valuable documentation of the Cambodian genocide.

Sourer. Author's photos of Tuol Sleng museum display, May 2009.

also an important player - as it had been throughout the Khmer Rouge years in power, despite KR pledges to make Cambodia "self-sufficient."

In Octobet 1991, with the Cold War at an end, the Comprehensive Political Settlement of the Cambodian Conflict was signed in Paris. Vietnamese forces had left the country in 1989. The United Nations stepped in to supervise the peace process. It launched UNTAC, the UN Transitional Authority in Cambodia, "the single most ambitious field operation in [UN] history" to that point.'3 However, the path to national elections in 1993 was fraught with difficulties. The Khmer Rouge boycotted the vote, and stepped up militaty attacks.

Ultimately, in May 1993, elections were held, but they did not produce the results Hun Sen desired. Voters gave a plurality of votes to Prince Ranariddh, son of Norodom Sihanouk. Hun Sen, the "great survivor of Cambodian politics,"74 then used his control over Cambodia's key institutions to strong-arm Ranariddh into accepting a coalition government. By 1997, Hun Sen had tited of the atrangement. He launched what was in essence a coup d'etat, re-establishing himself as the supreme authority. The absolutist strain in Cambodian politics was proving difficult to shake, especially against a backdrop of economic and social breakdown.



The campaign to bring surviving Khmer Rouge leaders to justice proceeded, albeit haltingly.75 The project was marginalized throughout the 1980s by US and com­munist Chinese opposition. The 1998 death of Pol Pot in his jungle exile, apparently from natural causes, further hampered the process, as did messy wrangling between the United Nations and the Cambodian government over the nature and composition of any tribunal. In June 2003, the two parties finally reached agreement. The Cambodian ttibunal would include "international jurists, lawyers and judges [who] will occupy key roles as the co-prosecutor, co-investigating judge and two out of five trial court judges, and must be a party to conviction or exoneration of any accused."76 This "mixed tribunal" constituted an interesting new legal institution to tty genocide cases.

It was this tribunal, based only a short distance from the Cheung Ek "killing fields" site outside Phnom Penh, that was functioning when I visited in May 2009 (see the futther discussion of the "mixed tribunals" in Chapter 15). The first of five leadership figures to be tried (though, in this case, for crimes against humanity and war crimes, not genocide) was Kaing Guek Eav, "Comrade Duch" (pronounced "Doik"), former commander of the infamous Tuol Sleng/S-21 killing center which appears on the covet of this book. Duch, "a wiry, compact man, expressionless, his silver hair combed tidily to the side,"77 took occasional notes as his lawyers wrangled over procedure. He showed emotion, according to observers, only when he was taken to the Cheung Ek site whete so many of S-21's prisoners were taken for execution. Duch was reportedly "moved to tears" by the expetience, "especially . . . when he stood before a tree with a sign describing how executioners disposed of child victims by bashing their heads against its ttunk."78

Figure 7.7 Kaing Guek Eav, alias "Duch", the first senior Khmer Rouge figure to be placed on trial before the Exttaordinary Chambet of the Cambodian Courts (ECCC) — the innovative "mixed tribunal" established for the Cambodian genocide. Duch was the commander of the notorious Tuol Sleng/S-21 prison and totture complex in Phnom Penh, depicred on rhe cover of this book and on pp. 298 and 303.

Source: AP Photo/Heng Sinith.



Apart from this episode, Duch temained stolid, even brazen - petitioning the court in his closing hearing for release based on time served, for example. Evidence in his trial concluded in November 2009; deliberations were still underway at the time of writing. Scheduled to appear next was Khieu Samphan, the 78-year-old former head of state under the Khmet Rouge. Khieu had always denied knowledge of the atrocities committed by the regime, declaring that he became aware of them only after viewing a documentary on S-21 in 2003.79

By this point, the tribunal's operations were running more than $100 million over budget. The cost of the proceedings, togethet with the advanced age of the defen­dants, allegations of political intetference,80 and the fact that the foreign (especially Chinese and US) role in the genocide was ignored, evoked ambivalence in Cambodia. The majority of Cambodians, after all, were born after the Khmer Rouge were toppled from power - while many current leaders, notably Ptime Minister Hun Sen, were themselves Khmer Rouge functionaries until breaking with the movement and joining in its overthtow. For survivors of the genocide, however, the priority was swift justice. "If the process of the trial continues to be too slow, then the aging former Khmer Rouge leaders will die before facing trial," said Yin Kean, a nun in her seventies who joined hundreds of others in a 2007 demonstration protesting the numerous delays in the proceedings. "I wish to see these leaders taken to court soon so that they will reveal who is responsible for the deaths of Cambodians under their regime."81


Denise Affonoo, To the End of Hell: One Woman's Struggle to Survive Cambodia's Khmer Rouge, ttans. Matgaret Burn and Katie Hogben. London: Reportage Press, 2007. Memoir of forced labor and privation, with introductions by Jon Swain and David Chandler.

Elizabeth Becker, When the War Was Over: Cambodia and the Khmer Rouge Revolution. New York: Public Affairs, 1998. The most accessible overview of the Khmer Rouge years.

David P. Chandler, The Tragedy of Cambodian History: Politics, War and Revolution since 1945. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1991. Fine short history.

Tom Fawthrop and Helen Jatvis, Getting Away with Genocide? Cambodia's Long Struggle against the Khmer Rouge. London: Pluto Press, 2004. Justice in post-genocide Cambodia.

Evan R. Gottesman, Cambodia after the Khmer Rouge: Inside the Politics of Nation Building. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2003. Political change and continuity after the genocide.

Alexander Laban Hinton, Why Did They Kill? Cambodia in the Shadow of Genocide. Betkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2005. Insightful anthropological analysis, also drawing on social and existential psychology.

Ben Kiernan, The Pol Pot Regime: Race, Power and Genocide in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge, 3rd edn. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2008. Detailed study of the Khmer Rouge years; a sequel to How Pol Pot Came to Power.



Haing Ngor with Roger Warner, A Cambodian Odyssey. New York: Macmillan, 1987.

Memoir by the Cambodian doctot and genocide survivor who won an Oscar for

playing Dith Pran in The Killing Fields (see p. 300-302). William Shawcross, Sideshow: Kissinger, Nixon and the Destruction of Cambodia (rev.

edn). New York: Cooper Square Press, 2002. The US air war against Cambodia

and its role in bringing the Khmer Rouge to power. Philip Short, Pol Pot: Anatomy of a Nightmare. New York: Henry Holt and Company,

2004. The most detailed biography of "Brother Number One" in the Khmer

Rouge regime.

Loung Ung, First They Killed My Tather: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers. New

York: HarperCollins, 2000. Memoir of a Chinese-Cambodian girl who lived

through the genocide. Michael Vickery, Cambodia 1975-1982. Boston, MA: South End Press, 1984.

Revisionist study, arguing for an emphasis on local/regional dynamics of Khmer

Rouge rule.


1 Michael Vickery, Cambodia 1975-1982 (Boston, MA: South End Ptess, 1984), p. 7.

2 Alexander Laban Hinton, "A Head for an Eye: Revenge in the Cambodian Genocide," in Hinton, ed., Genocide: An Anthropological Reader (Maiden, MA: Blackwell, 2002), pp. 254-85. See also Hinton, "Why Did They Kill? Cambodia in the Shadow of Genocide (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2005).

3 David W. Roberts, Political Transition in Cambodia, 1991—1999: Power, Elitism and Democracy (New Yotk: St. Martin's Press, 2001), p. 205.

4 Vickery, Cambodia 1975-1982, p. 9.

5 Elizabeth Becker, When the War Was Over: Cambodia and the Khmer Rouge Revolution (New York: Public Affairs, 1998), p. 37.

6 "Khmer Rouge" (Red Khmers) is actually a label applied derisively to the CPK by Cambodian President Norodom Sihanouk.

7 Ewo other members of the core KR group would hold impo